When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a update skeptic, is not amused. Six days on the road with an enigmatic holy man who answers every question with a riddle is not what he'd planned. But in an effort to westernize his passenger-and amuse himself-he decides to show the monk some "American fun" along the way. From a chocolate factory in Hershey to a bowling alley in South Bend, from a Cubs game at Wrigley field to his family farm near Bismarck, Otto is given the remarkable opportunity to see his world-and more important, his life-through someone else's eyes. Gradually, skepticism yields to amazement as he realizes that his companion might just be the real thing. In Roland Merullo's masterful hands, Otto tells his story with all the wonder, bemusement, and wry humor of a man who unwittingly finds what he's missing in the most unexpected place.
Merullo, author of the Revere Beach series and Golfing with God, delivers a comic but winningly spiritual road-trip novel. Otto Ringling is a food-book editor and a happily married father of two living in a tony New York suburb. After Otto's North Dakota parents are killed in a car crash, he plans to drive his ebulliently New Age sister, Cecilia, back home to sell the family farm. But when Otto arrives to pick up Cecilia in Paterson, N.J. (where she does tarot readings and past-life regressions), she declares her intention to give her half of the farm to her guru, Volvo Rinpoche, who will set up a retreat there. Cecilia asks Otto to take Rinpoche to North Dakota instead; after a fit of skeptical rage in which he rails internally against his sister's gullibility, he accepts, and the novel is off and running. Merullo takes the reader through the small towns and byways of Midwestern America, which look unexpectedly alluring through Rinpoche's eyes. Well-fed Western secularist Otto is only half-aware that his life might need fixing, and his slow discovery of Rinpoche's nature, and his own, make for a satisfying read. A set piece of Otto's chaotic first meditation session is notably hilarious, and the whole book is breezy and affecting. (Oct.)
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1 . I love, love, love this book
Posted March 03, 2010 by Book Lover , FraminghamThis is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I started it on my lunch break at work and had to tear myself away from it to go back to work. I couldn't wait to get home so I could get back to the story. I read constantly but that has not happened to me in a very long time. Don't be turned away by the buddhist monk. When I encouraged my friends to read it they thought it was a religous book - it is certainly not that - but each one that read it loved it as much as me. It is not a "preachy" book. Just a lovely, light read that you can't put down. Note to author: WRITE MORE BOOKS PLEASE!
August 25, 2008
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