"Dreams From My Father"
My festive reading over the past couple of weeks consisted of a rediscovery of Stephen Fry’s debut novel, “The Liar”, and U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama’s “Dreams From My Father”- linked via Fry’s autobiographical masterpiece “Moab Is My Washpot”, since “The Liar” is the fictionalised version of his early life, and “Dreams” is a similarly intense and elegant account of a notable individual’s formative years, and the experiences, encounters and influences that maketh the man. Obama’s book is a revelation – not only beautifully written, but also very effectively nailing America’s (and therefore the world’s) obsession with ethnicity, via an examination of his own multi-cultural background. He’s understandably reticent when it comes to his druggy adolescence and early romantic adventures, but provides ample evidence of the thesis that progress will only be made when more people realise that their history should be a springboard rather than a prison. Nobody who reads this book will be in any doubt that he’s almost committee-designed to be a Great President. But probably destined to fail, if only because there’s no such thing.