You used to read dictionaries like other people read novels. Each entry is a character, you’d say, that might be encountered under another rubric. Plots, many of them, would form during any random reading. The story changes according to the order in which the entries are read. A dictionary resembles the world more than a novel does, because the world is not a coherent sequence of actions but a constellation of things perceived. It is looked at, unrelated things congregate, and geographic proximity gives them meaning. If events follow one another, they are believed to be a story. But in a dictionary, time doesn’t exist: ABC is neither more nor less chronological than BCA. TO portray your life in order would be absurd: I remember you at random. My brain resurrects you through stochastic details, like picking marbles out of a bag.
An excerpt from Suicide by Edouard Levé which was printed in the April 2011 issue of Harper’s.
I need to read this now, this is the second time I’ve posted something from this excerpt.