Carl Reiner asked the 2000 year old man, aka Mel Brooks, what the favourite form of transport was 2000 years ago. "Fear" replied Brooks. You heard a lion roar behind you and you ran a mile in under 4 minutes.
Two books that reinforce this in very different styles are:
Howard Jacobson's first novel after winning the Man Booker prize, Zoo Time and Claude Lanzmann's autobiography The Patagonian Hare; two books in very different modes but with much in common in their source materials. Both will be reviewed elsewhere on this site
Here is a reader review of the Landzmann book from the Amazon page.
"When I began to read this book and found that it had been dictated to a friend who typed it directly into a computer, I anticipated that it might be unstructured and difficult to read: but, on the contrary, the book is highly readable, vivid and fluent. The translation by Frank Wynne (checked by the author) is superb; the English language is beautiful, almost poetic at times: "I remember two brothers... in the holy city of Safed in Galilee, two tall, thin men with blank faces, as silent as the shimmering stone of the steps on which they sat for hours in the sun without saying a word... These silent men were truly Israeli 'of old stock', they carried their country, its ancient and recent history, in their bones, their blood. Compared to them, I was an elf, I carried no weight...".
This memoir is a remarkable, masterly and very moving account of the life of a Jewish writer and later a film-maker born in 1925, who lived in Paris through the great cultural and political changes of our time. He was a friend of Sartre and partner for many years of Simone de Beauvoir and these friendships are wonderfully and sympathetically described. He is a man of huge energy and passionate friendships, especially for women, who are an important part of the story of his life. You will lose count of the women he loved, but surely never forget the hilarious episode in North Korea, where he fell for a nurse sent to give him injections of vitamin B12. This encounter is so vividly described and funny and yet at the same time touching. Indeed, the book is shot through with poignant episodes, reaching an incredible climax in the heartrending account of his filming for his 9-hour film 'Shoah' Shoah 4-DVD Set. Many times in the book one is moved deeply by the empathy and tenderness shown by this highly intellectual man. Don't be put off by the back cover which cites three newspapers calling the book 'Masterpiece' for it most certainly is a major masterpiece. Read it, and see for yourself! Surely, it will become a classic of our time."