Packed with interesting tit-bits about his destinations of choice, Iyer manages to chronicle his travels through LAX, Hong Kong, Toronto, Atlanta, England and Nara in great and asorbing detail. Introducing himself as a guy who doesn't have a sense of belonging to a single nation, he immerses himself in the cultures of a number of typical geographical refuges of the 'Global Soul', a term he coins to describe his, and many others', postmodern lifestyle of constant travel. He's interested in LAX for its "town life without a town", and in Toronto for its renowned multicultural atmosphere. He organises his entire journey under a search for a home, his Californian home having burnt down during a night of out-of-control weather. Iyer explores the different ways in which the natives of the locales he visits adopt to their environment, whether embracing or resisting (or both) what it has to offer.
That Iyer is a journalist is evident in his meticulous records of his activities, whether it be Atlanta or Hong Kong that he turns his critical eye to. He explores everyday existance in these locations from economic, sociological, political, literary and philosophical viewpoints, taking care to reference every last brand name he notices along his travels.
Iyer seems to find his "true home" only in a dream, an elusive moment made poignant by his sense fo peace in his newfound home of Nara. Yet Pico never reveals too much about himself, leaving us to wonder how he met his Japanese girlfriend and what exactly motivated him to stay in rural Japan as opposed to a location more convenient for his work.
I was personally left a little dry by Iyer's often pessimistic outlook regarding a postmodern lack of sovereign identity; the book tries a little too hard to convince you of the importance of a fleeting sense of incredulity over the rootlessness of the modern business traveler/international correspondent.