In Dita’s own memoir, A Delayed Life, there is no mention of these remarkable illustrations of literature’s power. They seem to have issued from Iturbe’s imagination, and Dita’s honest, artless prose makes his fiction seem glib and fanciful. You find yourself resenting the way he has intruded into her thoughts and questioning his account at every turn. Did the eight books he lists really exist? Dita herself remembers only the Wells and the atlas. Fellow survivors think there may have been a Russian grammar and a book by Karel Capek. Iturbe’s other titles, including Dita’s alleged favourites, The Good Soldier Svejk and The Magic Mountain, are never mentioned in her account.