The guard steps away from Vladimir Zelenyi and opens the
door. Zelenyi enters. Standing in the dim room, hearing the
pleading voice of a detainee being questioned somewhere nearby, Zelenyi
feels the Central State Hospital (a prison, really) as a
tangible place — made of concrete and steel, where people wake
up, eat, use the toilet, and sleep, their tedious routine
interrupted by the terror of interrogations. For most people, he
thinks, the notion of death is no more than wallpaper —
present but rarely seen. Prisoners, who have little to distract
them, have no choice but to stare at this wallpaper.
Paraphrases from the novel The Septembers of Shiraz by Dalia Sofer.