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Dinner with Buddha

By Roland Merullo

The author of Breakfast with Buddha brings his characteristic whimsy to a new novel about New York book editor Otto Ringling and Mongolian monk Volya Rinpoche, who embark on a road trip from Rinpoche’s meditation center in North Dakota to the glitter and glitz of the Las Vegas strip. What prompts the trip is Otto’s recently altered life, having lost first his wife, then his job, and then seeing both his children leave home for lives of their own. With Rinpoche’s guidance, he hopes to find a new meaning in his life, and a new direction. But what begins as a quietly contemplative journey becomes much more, as the two men travel through the heart of the American midwest, witnessing the decimated lives of so many American natives and giving Otto new perspective on the trials he is experiencing in his own life. Along with these inner awakenings for Otto, there is also a very real hint of menace in the novel, as men show up who may be looking to make sure that the world never knows of the existence of Shelsa, the 8-year-old daughter of Rinpoche and Otto’s sister, Cecilia. Shelsa has consistently shown that she has the markings and the instincts of a spiritual leader, leading to speculation that she may be the new Dalai Lama.

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Roland Merullo

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Review quotes
“Diners, truck stops, Indian reservations, national landmarks, Las Vegas--all lead the duo down the road to both prayerful seeking and hilarious adventure. Otto's first-person narration lends a memoir-like tone, and references to current events (Pope Francis, the 2016 election, fracking) offer a sense of immediacy. Likable Otto and wise Rinpochet lead readers on a thoughtful and memorable journey.” —Shelf Awareness for Readers, starred review

“With six unconventionally religious novels to date, this brave, meditative author has carved a unique niche in American literature.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Merullo offers keen insight into and intelligent assessments of modern American life, but it is his compassionate portrait of a grieving Otto in search of inner tranquility that is most affecting.” —Booklist

“Merullo masterfully depicts the struggles of practicing mindfulness moment by moment . . . [the] novel is  full of nuanced, thoughtful prose and is an immensely satisfying conclusion to the series.”—Publishers Weekly

“Otto is such a full human, which is why we can empathize with his questions and immerse ourselves in his experiences. In the end, we are all humanized by the spiritual journey of Dinner with Buddda.” —Spirituality and Practice

 
Product Details
Categories
Number of pages
368
Publication date
April 26, 2016
ISBN
9781616205997