The Map and the Territory by Michel Houellebecq:
“I always wanted to be an architect, I think,” his father continued. “When I was small I was interested in animals, like all children probably; when asked I would say I wanted to become a vet later in life, but deep down I think I was already attracted by architecture. At the age of ten, I remember, I tried to build a nest for the swallows who spent the summer in the shed. In an encyclopedia I’d found some indications on how swallows built their nests, with earth and saliva. I spent weeks on it …” His voice quavered slightly and he stopped again. Jed looked at him worriedly, but then he took a big sip of cognac before continuing.
“But they never wanted to use my nest. Never. They even stopped nesting in the shed …” The old man suddenly began to cry. Tears were pouring down his face and it was awful.