For reasons I don’t want to go into, I decided to commit suicide.

The poet Marshak has these marvellous lines: ‘Death came like a court order and seized possession of life.’ Death came to me, too, like a court order. I chose not to resist the summons.

Having no experience with suicide, I turned to fiction. Emma Bovary poisoned herself. As far as I remember from Flaubert, it was a long and painful process, and – in view of the state of medical science at the time – uncertain. You could be saved and then a letter might be written to the courts: the life of every member of society belongs to society, and you have no right to do violence to public property. So poisoning was unsuitable.

The Death of Merab Kostava
Those From My Village