Before The Myth of Sisyphus he had carried round The Unnamable and Nightwood for at least a year, and for two years before that the ultimate overcoat book, Heart of Darkness. Sometimes, driven on by horror at his own ignorance and a determination to conquer a difficult book, or even a seminal text, he would take a copy of something like Seven Types of Ambiguity or The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire out of his bookshelves only to find that its opening pages were already covered in spidery and obscure annotations in his own handwriting. These traces of an earlier civilization would have reassured him if he had any recollection at all of the things he had obviously once read, but this forgetfulness made him panic instead. What was the point of an experience if it eluded him so thoroughly? His past seemed to turn to water in his cupped hands and to slip irretrievably through his nervous fingers.
Edward St. Aubyn, Bad News