In this novel, the narrator greets nay, welcomes readers into a world of the absurd, with boundaries of neither space nor time. Barely do we arrive at the Crusades’ bloodbath when a zeppelin circles about Renaissance Florence’s Arno, and before we can catch our breath, Cologne is reduced to rubble through Allied bombardment. Next we find ourselves in fin-de-siecle Vienna sharing an espresso with Freud. According to the narrator’s father, appropriately unnamed and unnameable, historical time is a flow of events endlessly repeating themselves, where what is true one moment is false the next, what once beautiful now hideous. Everything is both earthly serious and airy as life itself. Put another way, true survival consists in this: trust nothing and no one, yet love everything and everyone. This the narrator’s father achieves to perfection. He is the perpetual student unbound by place and time, who learned the art of love from Sappho, war from Napoleon (“call me Boni”) and climbed the steep scaffold with a refreshing drink for the hard working Michelangelo. In his many incarnations (learned from Merlin no doubt), father’s ongoing struggle is on behalf of the downtrodden and against the obscenely powerful. The history of the world itself is too short to fully contain such an individual, just as it was too short to enfold Cervantes’ great Don.