The Millions

How a Stranger’s Diary Became One of the Year’s Most Fascinating Books

The text that follows is drawn from a stranger’s diary. I acquired the diary fifteen years ago, at a public estate auction. It was among the unsold items. I removed it from a box on its way to the garbage. It looks like garbage — I am surprised it made it to the auction house at all.

These are the first sentences of the introductory note I wrote for my book , but I’m here to tell you they might not be entirely true. It’s true I acquired the diary in 2004 and it’s true I made a book-length text from it. It’s true the diary looked—looks, still—like garbage, and it’s true it ended up unwanted when its previous owner died. But when

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