Perspective is hard when we’re immersed in chaos—that’s why we go to therapy. What Saunders has done here is kind of like showing us our Selves, from an outside perspective, except he makes it feel recognizably personal, like he’s writing from the inside. (I can’t find the right words. If I could, I’d be a writer myself.)
Each story is unique and powerful. Different settings and voices, with common themes of consciousness, self-awareness, moral agency. Saunders does an exquisite job of depicting inner monologue, monkey mind, life on autopilot; and a painfully accurate job showing the rationalizations we make every day to protect ourselves from discomfort. The book does not feel Buddhist in any way, but I think its insight and kindness make it a book that only a Buddhist could write. Each story requires effort from the reader; some more, some less. They’re worth it.