Do they ever want to escape? Climb out of the curved white pages and enter our world? Holden Caulfield slipping in the side door of the movie theater to catch the two o’clock. Anna Karenina sitting in the local diner, reading the paper as the waitress in a bright green uniform serves up a cheeseburger and a Coke. Even Hector, on break from the Iliad, takes a stroll through the park, admires a fresh bed of tulips. Who knows? Maybe they were growing tired of the author’s mind, all its twists and turns, or they were finally weary of stumbling around Pamplona, a bottle in each fist, eating lotuses on the banks of the Nile. Perhaps it was just too hot in the small California town where they’d been written into a lifetime of plowing fields. Whatever the reason, here they are, content to spend the day roaming the city streets, rain falling on their phantasmal shoulders, enjoying the bustle of the crowd. Wouldn’t you, if you could? Step out of your own story to lean for an afternoon against the doorway of the five-and-dime, sipping your coffee, your life somewhere far behind you, all its heat and toil nothing but a tale resting in the hands of a stranger, the dingy sidewalk ahead wet and glistening.