“We are here to awaken from our illusion of separateness.” – Thich Nhat Hanh
The Illusion of Separateness ties together the lives of a number of individuals, spanning from World War II through to present day. Chapters jump around throughout time and place, weaving together the stories of various characters, and there are many: a blind woman who works at a museum, an American couple separated by WWII, an elderly man whose face was disfigured in WWII, a caretaker of the elderly, a famous Hollywood film director. As the story of the individuals unfolds, the story of their connections slowly is revealed – coming full circle at the end and revealing the connections that bind the characters all together, that the seeming separateness of these lives and their stories is an illusion itself.
I will admit that this book started slowly for me, so if it does the same for you, give it a chance and it will bring you into the lives of these seemingly separate characters and their interconnections. The writing is beautiful; I was not surprised to discover that the author is also a poet and is worth savoring.
‘…finding the candles by heat, and blowing them out one by one, as we, one day, will be vanquished with a last puff and then nothing at all – nothing but the fragrance of our lives in the world, as on a hand that once held flowers.’
Title: The Illusion of Separateness
Author: Simon Van Booy
Publication: Harper, June 2013