I don’t know why. Call me crazy, but it’s the only physical book I return to, time and again and again, and find new truth and comic darkness and wisdom about the endless permutations of style. And it was style, I believe, that drew me back into the book so many times at first, the repeated feeling of: how did he do that? Every sentence bears nothing in common with its predecessor or successor, such that his prose insists on rereading, studying, enjoying afresh with every year that passes.

This copy, my old Grove paperback, feels somehow the truest to me, the one I’d grab in a fire, the one I’m “keeping close,” during our cross-country road trip in just a few days. And of course, if nothing else works, I’ll read it out loud while The Verbal Vixen drives on, knowing it’ll put our kids to sleep in the back.

“No one realized: the book and the labyrinth were one and the same.”