Automobiles shot out of deep, narrow streets into the shallows

of bright squares.  Dark clusters of pedestrians formed cloud-like strings.

Where more powerful lines of speed cut across their casual

haste they clotted up, then trickled on faster and, after

a few oscillations, resumed their steady rhythm.  Hundreds of noises

wove themselves into a wiry texture of sound with barbs

protruding here and there, smart edges running along it and

subsiding again, with clear notes splintering off and slowly dissipating.

By this noise alone, a man returning after years of

absence would have been able to tell where he was.


Paraphrases from the novel The Man Without Qualities by Robert Musil.