It’s all very well to look at a thing close
up; to look at it dead straight between the eyes;
an unflinching and honest stare, a meticulous inspection that would
go beyond the heart of the matter to its marrow,
beyond the marrow to the root — but the question is
how far back do you want? How far will do?
The old American question: what do you want — blood? Most
probably more than blood is required: whispered asides; lost conversations;
letters and photographs; old library books, yellowing paper bearing the
imprint of forgotten signatures. Back, back, back to the beginning.
Paraphrases from the novel White Teeth by Zadie Smith.