This review says a lot about the book’s style, but almost nothing about its subject matter. Would that be a spoiler?
Being pedantic, Zen masters do not “speak in koans”. A koan is a “public document”. The Zen master will ask a given student to work on a koan which seems, to the master, to be appropriate to the student at that state of development. It is then up to the student to understand the koan and to let the master know it has been understood, often non-verbally, sometimes in a few words, but never in an essay.
When Zen masters deliver sermons they may come up with aphorisms, but these are not koans. The statement in one sermon, “the Arhats are like shitty toilets” is graphic but makes perfect sense with a little thought. Koans are not like that and can take weeks, or even longer, to untangle.
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