And as we spoke a picture of myself emerged and developed, reacting to S’s hurt like a Polaroid reacting to heat, a picture of myself to hang on the wall next to the one I’d already been living with for months – the one of someone who made use of the pain of others for her own ends, who, while others suffered, starved, and were tormented, hid herself safely away and prided herself on her special perceptiveness and sensitivity to the symmetry buried below things, someone who needed little help to convince herself that her self-important project was serving the greater good but who in fact was utterly beside the point, totally irrelevant, and worse, a fraud who hid a poverty of spirit behind a mountain of words.

Great House, Nicole Krauss, p. 39

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