“The dampness and the rain are hastening the destruction of these and many other manuscripts," Haidara told me. "They should be returned to Timbuktu as quickly as possible," The drier air in Timbuktu acted as a kind of safeguard against fungal rot, though the arid climate of his hometown was also deleterious over time, causing unprotected pages to grow brittle and fall apart. " We have begun to see... mold, mildew, and fungus on paper and also on leather bindings.”
If Roy had set her characters into motion and given them drive, they may have given this book movement, energy, and excitement. Instead, it was like reading about an intricate painting that becomes more and more detailed every moment but is still static by the end.