Hell is the place we don’t know we’re in (Don DeLillo)

“Singh remarked to me once, his conspiratorial aspect, fixing those flat heavy eyes on me, ‘Hell is the place we don’t know we’re in.’ I wasn’t sure how to take the remark. Was he saying that he and I were in hell or that everyone else was? Everyone in rooms, houses, chairs with armrests. Is hell a lack of awareness? Once you know you’re there, is this your escape? Or is hell the one place in the world we don’t see for what it is, the one place we can never know? Is that what he meant? Is hell what we say to each other or what we can’t say, what is beyond our reach? The sentence defeated me. I was afraid of the desert but drawn to it, drawn to the contradiction. Men will come to fill this empty place. This place is empty in order that men may rush in to fill it.”

From Don DeLillo’s novel The Names.

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