This is from Mark Helprin’s In Sunlight and In Shadow.  Make of it what you will.

“Since his arrival in the city on his first leave, he had used a compass, which enabled him to avoid the illusory paths worn by others.  You might walk west along a street or road that after gradually bending would point you north or east.  Things often did not run as they promised, go where they announced, or stay constant as one believed.”