‘I remembered that, for the Persians, a beautiful landscape served to stimulate the appetite. And, expanding this idea, I decided that for the perfect man, all of life’s vagaries should serve as stimuli.
‘In the deepest veins of thought, I heard the conversations around me merge with the buzzing of flies. Like one who reconstructs a jigsaw puzzle piece-by-piece, in putting those fragments of conversation together I discovered that there was, among us, a fearful cohort of people who, while masking their fear, secretly regretted having called the police, and who found hope in the wall of sand the storm was raising around the hotel.
‘Whenever I come across someone reading, my first impulse is to snatch the book from his hands. I offer, for the curious, an exploration of this impulse: could it be an attraction to books, or impatience at finding myself displaced from the center of attention? I resigned myself to asking him what he was reading.
“A book of nonfiction,” he replied. “A guide to locomotives. I carry in my mind a map of the country (limited to the railway lines, of course) in which I endeavor to include even the most insignificant of locations, with their respective distances & hours of departure…”
“You are interested in the fourth dimension, the spacetime continuum,” I declared.
“The literature of evasion, I’d call it,” he observed, enigmatically.’