Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The importance of cleaning book shelves...

"I entered one of the narrow aisles. For a while I proceeded in darkness, which was illuminated here and there by the glow of putrefying books. I switched on my torch and let the beam wander over the bookshelves. In the damp air the pages of the books curled, swelled, frayed and turned to pulp, expanding and forcing the bindings outwards, tearing them and squeezing out through the holes. Covers were falling apart and leaves prolapsed from them, lolling out of the books like tired tongues, falling on the ground and mixing with leaves from other books, putrefying and forming a soaring pile of oozing, phosphorescent, malodorous compost, through which I had to force my way waist-deep at times. The wooden shelves on which the books stood cracked and twisted. In the putrefying insides of the books, in dark crannies between the leaves, seeds of plants became fixed and sprouted in the damp darkness, sinking their roots into the paper... What was most nauseating in these stuffy and fetid surroundings was not the realization that a strange accidental calamity was occurring with rampant nature devouring the fruits of the human spirit; what gave rise to increasing anxiety was rather the fact that the dreamlike transformation of books into dangerous and unemotional vegetation laid bare the malignant disease secretly festering in every book and every sign created by humans."
-Michal Ajvaj, "The Other City"

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