Without cafes and newspapers it would be difficult to travel. A paper printed in our language, a place where in the evenings we try to rub shoulders with other men, enable us to mime in familiar gestures the man we were at home, and who, seen from a distance, is so like a stranger. For what gives value to travel is fear. It breaks down a kind of inner decor in us. We can’t cheat any more – hide ourselves away behind the hours in the office or at the plant (these hours against which we protest so strongly and which protect us so surely against the suffering of being alone). Thus I have always wanted to write novels in which my heroes would say: ‘What would I do without my office hours?’, or again: ‘My wife has died, but fortunately I have all these parcels to get ready for tomorrow.’ Travel takes this refuge from us. Far from our own people, our own language, wrenched away from all support, deprived of our masks (we don’t know the fare on the tram and everything else is like that), we are completely on the surface of ourselves. But also, because we feel our soul is sick, we restore its miraculous value to every being and every object. A woman who dances without a thought in her head, a bottle on the table, glimpsed behind a curtain, each image becomes a symbol. The whole of life seems to be reflected in it, in so far as it sums up our own life at the time. When we are aware of every gift, the contradictory intoxications we can enjoy (including that of lucidity) are indescribable.