Sober moments in the dream of life: a review of Meandering Sobriety

Tam-Tri Le
Centre for Interdisciplinary Social Research, Phenikaa University

April 26, 2023

Humanity is in a multi-layered dream. We are drunk from information and stimulus overload as every new day; our world is becoming more colorful, exciting, chaotic, confusing, etc. However, many of us get lost in this dream – both sweet and nightmarish. Until one day, we peacefully wake up on a warm morning or suddenly rush to awareness in the middle of the night, covered in cold sweats. The moment of sobriety will not last forever nor bring desired solutions. It is the beginning of a thinking process that is active, responsible, and, most important of all – free.

The book was listed as an Amazon best seller in the Philosophy category on 21-23 April 2023.


Mental freedom comes when the mind is sober from the dream within itself – the dream of life. This notion takes the form of the book “Meandering Sobriety” by Quan-Hoang Vuong [1]. Readers will not find complicated philosophical arguments or hard-to-digest scientific results in this book. But in essence, the book is an invitation to look at how we have been looking at life, or in other words: to think about thinking. Inside the book are about 40 short and self-contained stories depicting various peculiar angles of reality. The writing is light on the eyes, and the content is light on the mind. Each story is like a sip of a different kind of tea that help you see through the fog of thoughts a little bit further.

Many people need a striking event in order to clear the fog in their ways. Unfortunately, this type of experience is likely not pleasant and, even worse – may come too late. But the human brain is inherently clever, regardless of who you are. Sometimes, all it needs is to find the funny details in the dream of life to know that you are lucid.

A lot of people are familiar with the indescribable feeling after finishing a long journey – be it in reality, through a book, or a movie. One is just there in the moment, with thousands of thoughts running through one’s head, but the mind is astonishingly calm. And the mind is fully aware of how calm it is in the present. The thoughts, the emotions, the sweetness and bitterness of existence, the deep mysteries of what it means to be humans. They are all there, but so subtle, so simple, to the point of almost casual.

Time and attention are luxurious in our noisy modern world. Reading should not be another burden [2]. While Meandering Sobriety is a short book consisting of short stories, it can bring out that complex yet refreshing sensation at the end of a journey (in this case: not one but multiple journeys). And the meanings each reader gets from this book will also differ quite a lot, for only you will know what your mind can see in its moments of sobriety.


[1] Vuong QH. (2023). Meandering Sobriety.

[2] Vuong QH. (2022). The Kingfisher Story Collection.