…and this book which I have always had in deep soak, when will it be finished? When I stop breathing? But the idea behind this furtive activity has always been that ideal book – the titanic do-it-yourself kit, le roman appareil. After all, why not a book full of spare parts of other books, of characters left over from other lives, all circulating in each other’s bloodstreams – yet all fresh, nothing second-hand, twice chewed, twice breathed. Such a book might ask you if life is worth breathing, if death is worth looming… Be ye members of one another. I hear a voice say, ‘What disease did the poor fellow get?’ ‘Death!’ ‘Death? Why didn’t he say so? Death is nothing if one takes it in time.’
…to commingle and intersperse contingent realities – that’s the game! After all, how few are the options open to us – few varieties of human shape, mental dispositions, scales of behaviour: hardly more numerous than the available Christian names used by the race. How many coats of reality does it take to get a nice clean surface to the apprehension? We are all fragments of one another; everyone has a little bit of everything in his make-up. From the absolute point of view – Aristotle’s Fifth Substabnce, say – all persons are the very same person and all situations are identical or vastly similar. The universe must be dying of boredom. Yet obstinately I dream of such a book, full of not completely discrete characters, of ancestors and descendants all mixed up – could such people walk in and out of each other’s lives without damaging the quiddity of each other? Hum. And the whole book arranged in diminished fifths from the point of view of orchestration. A big switchy book, all points and sidings. A Golgotha of a book.
Lawrence Durrell, Constance (The Avignon Quintet #3)