My wife's cries when she saw me made me realise I was in a worse state than I had thought. (p. 40)
The mention of this wife, or woman, was enough to change my reading of the rest of the book: how to read about solitude and the agonies and comforts of such solitude, when all along there has been a woman intimate to him whose company is so assumed, so invisible, that it rates almost as nothing at all? Much as I loved the rhythm of the writing and the elongated meditations, even rants, it was also spoilt by an imagined Pythonesque version of the book that begins:
'So now I am alone in the world, with no brother, neighbour or friend, nor any company left me but my own.'
'No you're not.'