Oblivious consists of twenty-one stories, almost all first-person male narratives. The narrator is seldom named. He could be anybody. He is anybody.
There is the prisoner in his cell, there is the man crushed by grief and guilt over the death of his daughter, there is the grown-up son paying a rare visit to his disintegrating father. Schiller makes us look at those bits of our lives that shame us and embarrass others - the saddest bits, the bits that can never be put right; the bits we must hide from the world, because the world doesn't want to see them.
For the most part, the anonymous narrator reveals only gradually, or perhaps only at the end, what is really going on. And all the tales, like all our lives, are really about the past. Something has happened, or has always been happening, and this is where it has led to: "Nothing ever starts. Not really. At some point you simply realise that you're in the middle of something that has been going on forever."
Every story in Oblivious presents us with a bleeding chunk of someone's existence, and in it we see the whole life. There is a reason for the brevity of the tales (one is only six words long): they are distillations; more words would only dilute.
Oblivious presents a bleak picture of human life. If there is redemption here, it comes through meaning. All these lives, Schiller says, really matter; they are worthy of our attention. It may not be much, but it's something.