Rashomon-like reading experience
I have always wanted to do this: to read, in tandem, the autobiography and biography of the same person. I managed it last weekend when I read, together, El Diego: The Autobiography of the World’s Greatest Footballer and Maradona: The Hand of God by Jimmy Burns.It was fascinating, among other reasons, because Maradona is not the most humble of men (he usually refers to himself, without irony, in the third person), and Burns’s book is far from being a hagiography.
Updated for the 2010 World Cup, Burns looks at Maradona as “a unique
social, political and religious phenomenon”. While an admirer of
Maradona’s play, Burns explores not merely how the footballer was
complicit in his own disgrace and downfall, but also how powerful, greedy football clubs, officialdom and companies had vested interests in Maradona, and were instrumental in his ascent and spectacular downfall, in his becoming who he did.
Reading the two books together was a bit like watching Rashomon, Akira Kurosawa’s classic film in which four witnesses to a rape and murder each describes the event in ways that offer accounts that are unrecognisable from one another.
You get the same disquieting sense if you read Burns on Maradona and
Maradona on himself. Often (in, say, the footballer’s cocaine addiction or his time with Barcelona FC), it seems as though one is reading of two different events.
And here is an extract from Burns’s book.
Intriguing, fascinating stuff.