So I had to go to Zurich again for a few days. My mother wished to see me. And because of my nerves about it, I’d felt so unwell over the whole long weekend that I suffered from severe constipation. On top of this, I should say that I’d written a novel a quarter century ago which I’d titled, for some reason I regrettably no longer recall, Faserland. It ends in Zurich, out in the middle of the lake, so to speak, somewhat traumatically.
That chapter of my life came back to me for the first time in years when, in Zurich as I said, down on Bahnhofstrasse, I purchased a dark brown, rather chunky wool sweater at a little stall hammered together from wooden beams, not far from Paradeplatz. It was already evening, I’d taken some valerian, and the effect of the pills and the despair of the Swiss autumn and the twenty-five preceding years weighed, leaden beyond measure, on my mood.
Just before that I’d been out in the Old Town. Over in Niederdorf there had been a clandestine screening of In girum imus nocte et consumimur igni, the last film by Guy Debord, completed just before his suicide. Four or five people had come, which seemed to me a miracle on account of the radiantly sunny, clement evening and this bloodless, soporific work. And after the audience, which is to say a pair of professors, the projectionist, and a homeless man who’d attended only to doze in the cinema seat for a while, had said their goodbyes and shaken one another’s hands, I must have walked aimlessly back down into the night toward Paradeplatz. And there, on the other side of the Limmat, I came across that makeshift stall run by some Swiss commune, where two bespectacled women of indeterminate age and a friendly bearded young man were selling heavy wool sweaters and blankets in natural colors, which they had knit themselves.