As organising and generating principle for the essays he chose the alphabet, and the result is a stimulating kaleidoscope of topics from Aachen to Zoos, passing by Alexandria, Luciano Berio, Ivy Compton-Burnett, reflections on his own early works The Echo-Chamber
, Langland's Piers Plowman
, the idea of repetition in life and art, and much else.
Josipovici reminds us that he has previously 'plundered episodes in my life to illustrate the intertwining of memory and forgetting, the desire to remember and the need to forget', and here he has someone say to him: 'You don't seem to be afraid of revealing a great deal about yourself.' 'I don’t think I feel it that way,' he responds. 'I can "reveal" precisely because it does not seem to be part of me. It seems to belong to someone else, a writer I have lived with, an immigrant I have known.'
Loquacious, funny and incautious, this surprising book is in effect a kind of expressionist self-portrait as well as a meditation on a hundred days of the pandemic.