An Octavio Paz anthology (unsurprising), Herodotus' The Histories (more surprising), three Le Clézio novels (in French), Nausea (I groan), a large coffee table book of works by the American artist Jasper Johns, a six-volume boxed set of À la recherche de temps perdu, a stack of printed-out essays (half of them by Lacan, the other half by Hegel), The Road (I groan again), and a tattered copy of Spinoza's Ethics (edited by Ezra Froug).

This is what I find in the first stack of books in Rémi's apartment.

At least fifty or sixty stacks surround the perimeter of the room, most of them leading up to a tremendous bookcase looming in the far-right corner. Piles of papers are sprawled atop a lengthy oak Pembroke table, its wings at its sides, steadied into stasis by the heft of content.

Here, only noiseless words; only dead men's words, silent legacies resonating upon a legendary silence.