Salamander: A Book for All Times

Almost every day shipments of books arrived from near and far. While unpacking a crate sent from Boston, Irena discovered that one of the books had been hollowed out inside, and within, another smaller book lay nested. The outermost cover was engraved with a title.

A Conjectural Treatise on Political Economy

Irena opened the cover of the inner book, and found within its cavity yet another book even smaller, and within it, another, and yet another within that, reminding her of the dolls-within-dolls crafted by the local village toymaker. The innermost volume, its soft leather cover slightly curled, rested snugly in her palm like a tiny seashell. Only with the aid of a magnifying glass was she able to decipher the single sentence which made up the entire content of the smallest book.

The great do devour the little.

—Thomas Wharton, Salamander

This scene takes place in 18th century Slovakia, but it could easily be today as the wealth of Europe (and beyond) is gobbled up by the super-rich. Here’s hoping the little books get together and put a stop to it.


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