Inwardness, the more reflective component of self, requires a "space" where a person can reflect upon the meaning of things.
and a persons absorption in a novel, which he likens closer to a state of meditation, allows for this space. Birkets' beautifully describes my short engagement with Gilead perfectly:
I feel a tug. The chain has settled over the sprockets; there is the feel of meshing, then the forward glide.Now the trick is to find the time to get back to that place!