Oscar Berg sensed an absurdity at the core of his
life as a librarian. The library administration represented a mindless
bureaucracy where crazy people made decisions for him day after
day. At times he felt like an inmate in a
mental asylum: a man whose freedom had been taken away.
To cope with the lumbering boredom of his fatuous duties
he invented a continuous novel in his head, a salutary
diversion of thought that channeled his subversive ideas about the
library bureaucracy into an imagined conflict between an idealistic Russian
insurgent and the functionaries of a notorious Soviet-era psychiatric hospital.