Every life is inexplicable, I kept telling myself.  No matter how many facts are told, no matter how many details are given, the essential thing resists telling.  To say that so and so was born here and went there, that he did this and did that, that he married this woman and had these children, that he lived, that he died, that he left behind these books, or this battle or that bridge – none of that tells us very much.  We all want to be told stories, and we listen to them in the same way we did when we were young.  We imagine the real story inside the words, and to do this we substitute ourselves for the person in the story, pretending that we can understand him because we understand ourselves.  This is a deception.  We exist for ourselves, perhaps, and at times we even have a glimmer of who we are, but in the end we can never be sure, and as our lives go on, we become more and more opague to ourselves, more and more aware of our own incoherence.  No one can cross the boundary into another – for the simple reason that no one can gain access to himself.

– Paul Auster, The Locked Room

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