This travel book follows the author and his wife on their travels through Dubai, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, Chile and the US, charting both a physical and spiritual journey. Rosenstock regales us with hilarious tales of persistent Indian sales men, suicidal mules in the Himalayas and the 39 million gods resident in Mumbai. He extols the healing properties of the urine of different animals (!), he ponders whether his biro might be mightier than the khanjar (a type of dagger), and wonders if a haughty pig in the streets of Mumbai might believe that she is in fact a sacred cow!
As well as being witty, the book is philosophical and reflective at times. The author's strong pacifist philosophy is constantly referred to, a philosophy that is strengthened by his visit to Hiroshima. Rosenstock also strives to point out to his readers the similarities between our culture and those he encounters, encouraging us to see kinship where we would usually only see differences. Rosenstock is a practitioner of Japanese Haiku poetry, and the book includes many of these three-line poems inspired by his travels, as well as several thoughts for the day.
'Years ago I used to narrate Gerrit van Gelderen's programme, To the Waters and the Wild. People used to envy me, thinking I had been on location in exotic spots. I hadn't, in fact. But finally I got to see the world. My wife, Eithne, loved Gangotri in the Himalayas; the highlight for me was Kerala in Southern India. The people, the landscape, the culture…'
- Gabriel Rosenstock
Peppered with references to the literature and history of the countries in question, Ólann mo Mhiúil as an nGainséis is far more than a traditional travel book. It will give its readers plenty of food for thought, educating and entertaining them.
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