'His father had an unmistakable preference for his sister ... when he was still very small... his sister had seduced him into sexual practices ... As a child she was boyish and unmanageable, but she then entered upon a brilliant intellectual development. . . In her early twenties . . . she poisoned herself [by drinking mercury] and died far away from home.'
'Anna heard him snuffling. She knew he was standing by the foot of the bed. The walls drew in close. Sergei was asleep in his cot by the open window. This was the moment when the day gave itself up to the night.' (Introduction)