The author suggests this book is a sort of memoir of his life. Recently he has purchased a small dog from the dog’s home and has begun to tell it about life and living. The reason for this is that Robert was working in Lhasa when an old man told him that not only would he be reincarnated, but his dog would come back as a human. Robert feels that the dog needs to be prepared for anything and so this is his way of reviewing his own life and hopefully helping the dog adjust when in human form.
This is indeed a memoir of the author’s life, but written very interestingly and captivatingly. The whole story is composed of many short chapters, just enough in the chapter to express an idea, a remembrance or a thought. It begins with the thoughts of being nursed by his grandmother and feeling safe in her arms. His family move from Dublin to London and from there, around the world.
Many of the chapters, not more than half a page, deal with the author’s family, but then they begin to follow his journey in London, then overseas. Some chapter recount what Robert sees, some chapters deal with the affairs of the time, and some chapters tell of people he has met.
Bit by bit, while piecing together, and gleaning more details of this man, we begin to fully understand his life. We get to know why he feels so strongly about issues, and why he reacts to things the way he does. Rather than beginning his life story in a sequential way, the chapters almost seem like random thoughts, which become more understandable as the book progresses. The characters he introduces to us become fleshed out gradually, and his responses make more sense.
A most unusual and introspective memoir indeed!