Walter Nash writes:

Take one housemaid, who interrupts you while you are making a ludicrously maladroit attempt to swaddle a stolen painting in brown paper. Fly into a sulk. Bundle the poor girl into your car, and when she protests, silence her with a hammer, noting, as you do so, that its impact on her skull is like hitting clay or hard putty. (You are brilliantly obsessed by details.) Drive thirty miles – recording, wide-eyed, the comic contingencies of a world as yet ignorant of your deed – to a patch of waste ground, where you leave the car, and the corpse, and the painting you set out to steal in the first place. Walk away, into the curious conviction that by this enormity you have liberated yourself from the burden of having to pretend to be what you are not.

(LRB 4 May 1989)

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