Lunch with Buddha

Lunch with Buddha

4.0 7
by Roland Merullo
     
 

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On the surface, LUNCH WITH BUDDHA is a story about family. Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different. He's just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American. Cecelia is the last

Overview

On the surface, LUNCH WITH BUDDHA is a story about family. Otto Ringling and his sister Cecelia could not be more different. He's just turned 50, an editor of food books at a prestigious New York publishing house, a man with a nice home in the suburbs, children he adores, and a sense of himself as being a mainstream, upper-middle-class American. Cecelia is the last thing from mainstream. For two decades she's made a living reading palms and performing past-life regressions. She believes firmly in our ability to communicate with those who have passed on.

It will turn out, though, that they have more in common than just their North Dakota roots.

In LUNCH WITH BUDDHA, when Otto faces what might be the greatest of life's difficulties, it is Cecelia who knows how to help him. As she did years earlier in this book's predecessor, BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA, she arranges for her brother to travel with Volya Rinpoche, a famous spiritual teacher - who now also happens to be her husband.

After early chapters in which the family gathers for an important event, the novel portrays a road trip made by Otto and Rinpoche, in a rattling pickup, from Seattle to the family farm in North Dakota. Along the way the brothers-in-law have a series of experiences - some hilarious, some poignant - all aimed at bringing Otto a deeper peace of mind. They visit American landmarks; they have a variety of meals, both excellent and awful; they meet a cast of minor characters, each of whom enables Rinpoche to impart some new spiritual lesson. Their conversations range from questions about life and death to talk of history, marijuana, child-rearing, sexuality, Native Americans, and outdoor swimming.

In the end, with the help of their miraculous daughter, Shelsa, and the prodding of Otto's own almost-adult children, Rinpoche and Cecelia push this decent, middle-of-the-road American into a more profound understanding of the purpose of his life. His sense of the line between possible and impossible is altered, and the story's ending points him toward a very different way of being in this world.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Merullo's is a beautifully written and compelling story about a man's search for meaning that earnestly and accessibly tackles some well-trodden but universal questions." —Kirkus Starred Review
Kirkus Reviews
In this engaging follow-up novel (Breakfast With Buddha, 2008), Merullo takes readers on a spiritual road trip through the American West. Otto Ringling is a successful New York City editor who has built a happy, comfortable life with his family in the suburbs. But when his wife, Jeannie, dies, Otto's entire orbit is suddenly thrown off course. Along with his two college-aged children, his New-Age sister Cecelia, her eccentric, sort-of Buddhist husband and guru, Volya Rinpoche, and their enlightened 6-year-old daughter, Otto finds himself in the forests of Washington to spread his wife's ashes. On the way back to the family farm in North Dakota, Otto rides alone with Volya--a reprise of the trip the two took in Breakfast With Buddha--in a beat-up pickup truck. Together, they traverse the mountainous West, Otto teaches Volya about American culture--including food, water parks, marijuana and transvestites--and Volya teaches Otto how to let go. Otto is frustrated and often angry. While he has embraced some of Volya's teachings--and has even tried his hand at meditation and yoga--his wife's death has left him bitter, skeptical and confused. But he does his best to keep an open mind: He listens to Volya, even when his sweet, wise and goofy companion says little; he asks questions, even when he knows that the answers will most likely elude him. In Otto Ringling, Merullo offers readers a hero that's a bit jaded but loving; a little lost but searching. One can't help but root for Otto, despite--or perhaps because of--his curmudgeonly tendencies, and hope that he finds the inner peace that, even if he doesn't quite know it, he desperately seeks. While there are a few flat notes--a handful of too-convenient circumstances to help Otto along his path to clearer consciousness and some distracting references to too-current events (the Obama/Biden campaign, tumult in Syria) that pluck the narrative from its otherwise timeless path--Merullo's is a beautifully written and compelling story about a man's search for meaning that earnestly and accessibly tackles some well-trodden but universal questions. A quiet meditation on life, death, darkness and spirituality, sprinkled with humor, tenderness and stunning landscapes.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780984834563
Publisher:
PFP Publishing
Publication date:
11/28/2012
Pages:
392
Sales rank:
573,364
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Sean Runnette, a multiple AudioFile Earphones Award winner, has also produced several Audie Award-winning audiobooks. His film and television appearances include Two If by Sea, Copland, Sex and the City, Law & Order, Third Watch, and lots and lots of commercials.

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Lunch with Buddha 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Drewano 10 months ago
Interesting and enlightening delivers a great message, but I feel like it’s missing something from the first book. Maybe because Otto is already pre-disposed to Volya’s teaching that there isn’t as much growth in his character which makes the story feel incomplete. Even with this small complaint I feel that the Buddha series is a great tool to make the reader stop and think. I really enjoy the theme and the story, and the book is will written. I can’t wait to move into the last in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I fell love with the characters especially Rinpoche. Wonderful Story about relationships and getting to know our inner self. Liked the humor and wisdom. I enjoyed Breakfast with Buddha so I knew this was a must read when I saw the title and author on the New releases. Roland Merullo's books are among my favorites for Reading. This book would be a good choice for a book club Discussion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved breakfast and lunch and now I am waiting for dinner... great author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago