Corruption, paranoia in a crumbling corner of the Ottoman Empire.
My room, scene of my labors over the years, scene of triumphs of a higher order than that of mere physical superbia, yet seemed cramped and mean to me, the hold at the end of my burrowing life. I looked at my miserable paraphernalia of pleasure, books, hookah, coffee cup and bowl; at my shabby clothes and unkempt person, still sour from sleep. A kind of rebellious misery rose in me. Why should I sit here, hatching other people's motives and purposes?