Jim Perrin’s cancer: truth or fantasy?

The review of West we are posting here was first published by ‘Madryn’ on Amazon, on the 19/03/2014, and we feel it is as succinct and germane today as when first it was written:

‘My suspicions of “West” were aroused when I came to the episode describing how Jim Perrin was, supposedly, diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. (A dozen years later he is alive and well.) Jim, lad, you don’t get metastases in your lungs from lung cancer: you get primaries. Lung cancer is almost always fatal, and there is no doctor who would have  behaved as Perrin alleges “his wise old GP” did, and advised delay to see how things developed.

So why did Jim Perrin make all this up? Because Jac died of cancer did he have to be equally ill? This episode, plus Jac’s sisters’ very different versions of his affair with her, casts considerable doubt on the truth, factual and emotional, of the rest of “West”. All writing is a construct and it would be naïve to expect absolute truth from a memoir, but the creation of episodes that simply cannot have happened does raise ethical questions about the degree of fantasy acceptable in a supposedly honest account. “West” strikes me as less an expression of the sublime than the egotistical.’

Thank you, ‘Madryn’.     Jac’s sisters.