The author of "The Dictionary of the Khazars," Milorad Pavic, published two editions: the Male Edition, and the Female Edition of the Dictionary. The two sections critically differ in only a few sentences, in one passage.
(Don't worry, these aren't spoilers. The Dictionary even recommends that you read it in whatever order occurs to you to do so! ;) )
The Female Edition has the following text:
And he gave me a few of the Xeroxed sheets of paper lying on the table in front of him. As he passed them to me, his thumb brushed mine and I trembled from the touch. I had the sensation that our past and our future were in our fingers and that they had touched. And so, when I began to read the proffered pages, I at one moment lost the train of thought in the text and drowned it in my own feelings. In these seconds of absence and self-oblivion, centuries passed with every read but uncomprehended and unabsorbed line, and when, after a few moments, I came to and re-established contact with the text, I knew that the reader who returns from the open seas of his feelings is no longer the same reader who embarked on that sea only a short while ago. I gained and learned more by not reading than by reading those pages, and when I asked Dr. Muawia where he had got them he said something that astonished me even more.
The Male Edition has the following text:
And he gave me a few of the Xeroxed sheets of paper lying on the table in front of him. I could have pulled the trigger then and there. There wouldn't be a better moment. There was only one lone witness present in the garden - and he was a child. But that's not what happened. I reached out and took those exciting sheets of paper, which I enclose in this letter. Taking them instead of firing my gun, I looked at those Saracen fingers with their nails like hazelnuts and I thought of the tree Halevi mentions In his book on the Khazars. I thought how each and every one of us is just such a tree: the taller we grow toward the sky, through the wind and rain toward God, the deeper we must sink our roots through the mud and subterranean waters toward hell. With these thoughts in my mind, I read the pages given me by the green-eyed Saracen. They shattered me, and in disbelief I asked Dr. Muawill where he had got them.
(all but the first sentence and part of the last one are different)
And that's it. The rest of the books are the same.
What's the metatextual significance of these two passages?