SINGAPORE – At 4am, encircled by smoke from the various wildfires blazing through California, renowned travel writer Pico Iyer turned on Zoom and beamed at more than 950 viewers half a world away in Singapore.
Iyer, 63, seemed chipper given the early hour and the environment, especially for someone who, in 1990, watched his house burn in one of the worst man-made fires in Californian history.
The house was surrounded by 25m-high flames, he recalled. From the road, he watched them systematically burn through the living room and reduce everything in his bedroom to ash, wiping out eight years’ worth of writing for his next three books.
If somebody had asked him then where his home was, he would have had nothing physical to point to.
“Home is not the place where you live,” he said. “Home is what lives inside you. And I think these days, even somebody who’s got a very fixed sense of…