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.