On the Stairs, 2

The stairs, for him, were, on each floor, a memory, an emotion, something ancient and impalpable, something palpitating somewhere in the guttering flame of his memory: a gesture, a noise, a flicker, a young woman singing operatic arias to her own piano accompaniment, the clumsy clickety-clack of a typewriter, the clinging smell of cresyl disinfectant, a noise of people, a shout, a hubbub, a rustling of silks and furs, a plaintive miaw behind a closed door, knocks on partition walls, hackneyed tangos on hissing gramophones, or, on the sixth floor right, the persistent droning hum of Gaspard Winckler’s jigsaw, to which, three floors lower, on the third floor left, there was now by way of response only a continuing, and intolerable, silence.

— Georges Perec, Life a User’s Manual

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