There was, for instance, the way he moved from topic to topic, like a water-skater skipping lightly across a lake, never stopping long before slipping beneath the surface. Or the way he constantly asked my questions, but never waited to listen to the answers. I noticed, also, that he drank fast, glass after glass, almost without registering it – and with little discernible effect, save the slightest glisten in his nut-brown eyes. ‘Call me Joseph’ he implored, even when I had done. The insistence on his first name troubled me, suggesting a level of intimacy that was never remotely within reach. If our forename represent our true selves, the man I was speaking to was not Joseph. It was only ever Grünnerwald.
Part Two of Chapter One: available here.