To live as a detection device in the middle of a busy street is a legitimate choice – and a tempting one to make. To observe the world as it leisurely unfolds without your interference means to avoid the difficulties of constant selection. If you are just a passive receiver, all bits of the ceaseless flow of information fit your narrative; there’s no need to shape them in accordance with your purposes. In exchange for cohesion you get all kinds of bypassing, unfinished, often interesting stories. In other words, you get an outline.
Since nowadays this kind of existence is often imposed on us with or without our wanting it and we are forced to let a lot of material pass us, untouched and unattached, I was intrigued to read a book with aspirations towards exploring the living conditions of such complete surrender. But the main character in this novel, a sponge that soaks everything and gives away only the least of herself, encounters, in accidental meetings with others, a strange amount of coherent and completed life stories. Though there are plenty of these others, who can’t wait to share their biographies with a listener that never interrupts, I was able to decipher only one voice. Instead of diversity, otherness and chaos, I got the author’s attempt to write something, anything.