It’s a novel written from the points of view of three women and has as its subject, besides telling the stories of how they grow up and meet, the nature of the self, or of identity.
It takes its title from Straw Dogs, a book by John Gray, the English political philosopher, in which he wrote, “The I is a thing of the moment, and yet our lives are ruled by it. We cannot rid ourselves of this inexistent thing.” What a provocative thing to say!
I hope the novel will provoke readers to ask themselves the questions, Who am I? Why am I who I am? Do I choose to be who I am? Could I be someone else? Are we just mind or are we just body? Are we some combination of the two?
I also hope to have philosophers and philosophy students recognise some of the arguments and views on identity and the self put forward by Berkeley, Descartes, Hume, Locke and Sartre. The novel’s four characters – Isabella, Mie, Sharon and Sebastian – are, to some extent, illustrative of these philosophers’ arguments.
A talk I gave to the Wimbledon Philosophy Society on self and identity in A Thing of the Moment can be found here.