In­ves­ti­gat­ing ‘The Tru­man Show delu­sion’ in real life

Mary Pilon on Olympic sailor and ‘The Tru­man Show delu­sion’ suf­ferer, Kevin Hall

Esquire (UK) - - Contents -

“He loved how de­li­ciously vivid ev­ery­thing felt now that he was in The Show: the mu­sic more har­mo­nious, the food more savoury, the breeze more re­fresh­ing, even the bark un­der

his fin­ger­tips more crisp and sat­is­fy­ing. In so many ways, it felt as though things couldn’t pos­si­bly get any bet­ter. Then the cops showed up.” It’s one thing suf­fer­ing from a bipo­lar dis­or­der, but it’s another to suf­fer from

“The Tru­man Show delu­sion”, a con­di­tion in which you be­lieve you are the star of your own TV show and real­ity is con­structed fic­tion. But try adding to that, as Kevin Hall did, the fact you are an Olympic and Amer­ica’s Cup sailor and also, from time to time, on TV for real? No won­der the poor guy got con­fused. In her new book, The Kevin Show, for­mer New York Times re­porter Mary Pilon does an ex­cel­lent job of de­scrib­ing Hall’s ex­pe­ri­ences and in­hab­it­ing his con­di­tion, which of­ten oc­curred at deeply in­op­por­tune mo­ments such as the one above, when

he jumped from a tree hop­ing to con­vince a ter­ri­fied passerby to play Ophe­lia in what he thought was a new

Shake­spearean plot­line, or when help­ing re­cover the body of his Artemis team-mate, An­drew Simp­son, who died

in 2013 on a prac­tice sail in San Fran­cisco Bay. (Hall con­vinced him­self

the death was staged.) All ex­tra­or­di­nary, but no laugh­ing mat­ter.

The Kevin Show (Blooms­bury) is

pub­lished on 13 June

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