Recounts the time spent in military by protagonist, a period of four years. Narrator, Tom Betz, learns Arabic, joins the Air Force, engages in airborne reconaissance. In real time, he moves from Fort Lee, NJ, to Athens, Greece, although far more spiritual distance is covered than geographical.
TTHC, at least in some respects, is a coming of age novel, joined to a serious meditation on three of the world's major religions (Catholicism, Buddhism, Islam). The narrator is looking for meaning, yet he would not use that term. He makes certain discoveries that he either files away or will make use of later on in life. Book ends with a snap. Throughout, TTHC, despite some grim themes, is also meant to be funny. And is funny, I would hope.
The old Agora was still. All the stones, with their stories inside, were sleeping. No spiny leaf trembled on the dark gray ancient tree I leaned against; no clouds moved in the cobalt blue sky; across the clearing, the smithy's temple was empty. No life there. No life at all. Lazy broken columns of black ants (silently) doodled on the bark, moving about in silky real time. Then I heard, I thought I heard, “Socrates!” Was I dreaming? Had I dozed off? There it was again, though; high-pitched, louder. “Socrates!” I sat up. What do you think it was? Two Greek boys, white shirts billowing behind them like flying sails, their feet echoing on the cobblestones, were bumbling through the Agora. Can you beat that? I heard another shout, another echo. I leaned my head back, got cozy as I could, and stretched my weary legs. This time I fell asleep.