Publishers Weekly, 1999-08-02 From a well-traveled, much-published (nine books) Canadian writer, who has tried his hand at a bewildering number of careers, comes a candid, intelligent and splendidly droll little autobiographical novel. In 108 short chapters, or "thoughts," the nameless protagonist recounts his meandering life from birth in 1954 to middle-age, assuming the roles of, variously, a musician, book designer, motorcycle racer and mathematician. In his mid-20s, after abandoning his first successful incarnation as an antiquarian bookseller, he embarks on a quest to find meaning in his life, and in 1978 begins a friendship with cult figure Lobsang, an English plumber miraculously transformed into a self-styled Tibetan mystic. The narrator's subsequent travels include stops all over Canada, odysseys to the U.K. and the U.S. and an expedition near Baffin Bay in the High Arctic, but his culminating adventure is his quest for his great love, Gabrielle, a dancer in musical theater, which goes tantalizingly unrealized until the novel's bittersweet denouement. Davies's hero, a modern-day hybrid of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza, jousts at scores of life's windmills, but he pokes fun at himself along the way, almost always avoiding the spiritual sponginess that is the hazard of the book's theme. In short, sharp sentences, Davies gives an ironic yet affectionate account of a nomadic, self-searching life. Readers will be left wondering what this New Age Renaissance man will come up with next. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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