This novel is clearly autobiographical (the author is a travel writer) - not just in the description of locations in Cambodia, but in the experience of its moods and soul. Within the inexorable framework of karma, Robert finds his real freedom from English middle class banality. The genocide background is there but doesn't dominate, giving opportunity for writer and reader to reflect on the difference of culture and morality.
Often, in fact, his clients filled him with a bottomless and directionless contempt. Especially the gamblers who rolled around Pailin while he waited for them for hours outside casinos and karaoke joints. Those parasites who thought his country was a genocide museum and a playground but nothing too serious. Who behaved as if he didn't exist. He hated the way they threw money at him, with a flick of the wrist, as if he were an extra in their shimmery theatre of lust and poker. Well, I exist all right, he said aloud as he sat behind the wheel of his taxi. I exist a lot.