George Saunders calls art a kind of black box the reader enters. He enters in one state of mind, he says, and exits in another. The writer gets no points just because what’s inside the box bears some linear resemblance to real life — he can put whatever he wants in there. What’s important is that something undeniable and nontrivial happens to the reader between entry and exit. I was altered undeniably, unabashedly, unbookishly after reading Tenth Of December. But what about the author? The artist, the photographer, the director, the actor? How did they get altered inside this big box we live in?