Only a very über short thought.
It is so strange and amazing that a book, describing entirely fictional characters, set in a world which has never existed, experiencing events that are outside of our own experiences can cause sympathy.
Sympathy, true sympathy, is the creation in us of a genuine real emotion in response to what we read. And what we read is not real.
It is, for me, one of the most bizarre, mind-blowing and awesome features of literature. I am moved by Heathcliff howling into the night for Cathy; I am moved to tears by Conor’s grief for his mother in A Monster Calls; my heart is fit to break with King Lear‘s.
And non-fiction does not affect me the same way. I can empathise with real people, I can recognise and rationalise historical events and emotions in non-fiction writing but I must confess I neither truly feel nor care in the same way.
Perhaps this says more about my mental state than anything else!