Yet a city only really becomes your own when you let go of it a little. The special quality of both cities and novels is that they are enriched by previous use, handed to you by others, made intimate by your awareness of their vastness. Both the novel and the city live by projection: immersing yourself in a crowd of characters or citizens, you become defined in relation to them; you lose yourself to find yourself. The city was not something I could take home, like a product in a suburban shopping mall. It was only mine as long as I left it in place. And so the owner had to give way to the observer.

Wendy Lesser, The Amateur