The Monk Upstairs

The Monk Upstairs

5.0 1
by Tim Farrington
     
 

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Heavenly Ever After?

When Rebecca Martin finds the love of her life, it's finally time to cross off one giant task from life's to-do list. But not so fast. The wedding is a minor disaster, the honeymoon doesn't get much better, and then the biggest shock of all—living together as monk and wife.

Overview

Heavenly Ever After?

When Rebecca Martin finds the love of her life, it's finally time to cross off one giant task from life's to-do list. But not so fast. The wedding is a minor disaster, the honeymoon doesn't get much better, and then the biggest shock of all—living together as monk and wife.

Editorial Reviews

Ron Charles
…p; Farrington has returned with a sequel called The Monk Upstairs, and, if anything, he concentrates on the function of prayer even more, but he still maintains the same ironic humor that welcomes readers of any religion -- or no religion. Farrington spent a couple of years in his 20s at an ashram in Oakland, Calif., and the Christian theology of his "Monk" novels is deeply moderated by Eastern ideals. Chief among these is the sense that God is an "unfathomable darkness," a harrowing "kind of nowhere" that can be reached only as the world is silenced by stillness. That gloss of mysticism -- devout and yet distinctly unchurchy -- gives these stories a New Age ecumenicalism that's crucial to their broad appeal.
— The Washington Post
Library Journal

How does a couple become a couple, especially when one person has been segregated from society for a long period of time? In a delightful follow-up to The Monk Downstairs, Farrington continues the story of Mike and Rebecca, who are getting married. Mike, a former monk, had been renting from Rebecca when they fell in love. Now, as this novel opens, Rebecca is standing in the back of the church, but there's no groom. Rebecca manages to find him and the ceremony goes off without a hitch. They honeymoon in Hawaii, but Mike is still wrapped up in the contemplative life, rising early to meditate and attend mass. Reconciling his new life with the old one will take some doing. In addition to acclimating as newlyweds, Mike and Rebecca must deal with the impending death of Rebecca's mother. At the same time, Rebecca's daughter, Mary Martha, has asked to join Mike on his trips to early morning mass. This is a fun, lively novel about what happens to a couple after the initial glow of love. Recommended especially for the fans of the author's previous book.
—Robin Nesbitt Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information

Kirkus Reviews
An aimless sequel to The Monk Downstairs (2002) begins with the marriage of Mike, the former monk, to Rebecca, his artsy landlady. It seems things may not bode well for the couple when Mike is late for the wedding-he was off in the woods praying while the full church was waiting-but Rebecca doesn't seem to mind; she's just glad he hasn't backed out of the nuptials. The two are then off to Hawaii for their honeymoon, where they have a fine time, except when they argue. Once they return to San Francisco, Mike tries to find a job-not easy when you've spent the past 20 years in monastic contemplation-while Rebecca carries on with her graphic-design business and raising seven-year-old sweetie Mary Martha. Sound rather plotless? It is. The few points of conflict-Mike brings Mary Martha to church (despite Rebecca's distrust of Catholicism); ex-husband Rory has demolished their kitchen as part of a remodeling (and pot-induced) "surprise"; Mike displays an inability to engage in normal friendships-are resolved quickly. There are a few references to Mike's kindness, but he, like all the characters, lacks the weight or charisma needed to propel a story dependent on character. The one exception is Rebecca's mother, Phoebe. Having had a stroke, she begins to falter mentally and physically, until she longs for a peaceful death. There is much Bible-quoting, and it is apparent that Farrington is creating a kind of discourse about the place of God in a secular world. Unfortunately, his conduit for the discussion-the bland, embarrassingly self-centered Mike-is a poor choice. Instead, there is a lot of talk about Phoebe reaching a peace with death, and Rebecca accepting the changes in her life. But it'srelayed in so tepid a tone, that it feels more like approaching sleep than meditation. Farrington has offered some lively, character-driven fare in the past; this time around is dismal.
Spirituality and Health magazine
“An enjoyable read with interesting and engaging characters who spur us to think more seriously about love, faith, death.”
Washington Post Book World
“Consistently witty and utterly charming...”
Booklist
“A rare realistic portrait of a romantic relationship between two complicated, funny, loving adults.”
Jennifer Lauck
“I am caught and held firm by Tim Farrington’s tender treatment of his characters and their humanity.”
Lolly Winston
“Farrington writes with deft humor and poignancy about human relationships and the quirks of the human heart.”
Spirituality and Health Magazine
"An enjoyable read with interesting and engaging characters who spur us to think more seriously about love, faith, death."
Spirituality & Health magazine
“An enjoyable read with interesting and engaging characters who spur us to think more seriously about love, faith, death.”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061749766
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/17/2009
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
528,560
File size:
896 KB

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What People are saying about this

Jennifer Lauck
“I am caught and held firm by Tim Farrington’s tender treatment of his characters and their humanity.”
Lolly Winston
“Farrington writes with deft humor and poignancy about human relationships and the quirks of the human heart.”

Meet the Author

Tim Farrington is the author of Lizzie's War, The Monk Downstairs,—a New York Times Notable Book—and The Monk Upstairs, as well as the critically acclaimed novels The California Book of the Dead and Blues for Hannah.

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