Somnerset Maugham

The diary of a dying man: Graham Caveney’s poignant cancer memoir

Reading this third memoir by Graham Caveney, a knot in my chest tightened. It wasn’t only because it’s a cancer memoir; it was because the unfolding of history so often shows that abuse begets self-destructive behaviour. To parody Auden: I and the public knowWhat all healthcare staff learnThose to whom evil is doneDestroy themselves in turn. Caveney’s two previous memoirs, The Boy with the Perpetual Nervousness and Agoraphobia, outlined his working-class childhood in Accrington, Lancashire, and his winning of a place at a Catholic grammar school. But where the school succeeded in helping him achieve his aim of becoming a writer, it also screwed with his head, because he was