The thought of being shut in for ever drives me out of my senses | Anna Kavan

The thought of being shut in for ever drives me out of my senses, so that I try to bash down walls with my bare hands, tear at bricks with my nails, pick the mortar out. It’s too ghastly. I’m not the sort of person who can live without seeing the sky. On the contrary, I have to look at it many times a day; I’m dying to be a part of it like the stars themselves. A cold finger of claustrophobia touches me icily. I can’t be imprisoned like this. Somehow or other I must get out..

From “The Old Address” by Anna Kavan. Originally published in Julia and the Bazooka (1970); reprinted by NYRB in Machines in the Head: Selected Stories of Anna Kavan (2020).

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