Wednesday 27 June 2018


Krauss tells us two life stories in alternating chapters, of a novelist by the name of Nicole and of a philanthropist, Jules Epstein, who has recently disappeared. Nicole hopes to find herself (and possibly Jules), who has last been seen at the hotel in Tel Aviv where she herself is staying. It’s a building in the brutalist style. Its unrelenting grid seems to be a message nearly a mysterious as the Stonehenge.

Nicole believes in a multiverse, possibly created by her own mind. The idea of being in two places at once goes back a long time with her. Perhaps all children have this feeling because their sense of self is still porous, an oceanic feeling. Most people grow out of that. They want to create form out of formlessness and map meaning onto the world through the structure of language.

But doubt remains, especially about our memory, which will always be irreconcilable with history. Maybe literature can provide a more coherent narrative. Novels have to make sense. The character always needs a reason for the things she does. Even when there appears to be no motive, the plot reveals its existence in the denouement. Nicole at any rate wants to escape into that world. She didn't want to see things as they were. I had grown tired of that.