The Monk Downstairs: A Novel

The Monk Downstairs: A Novel

by Tim Farrington
3.9 10

Paperback(First HarperCollins Paperback Edition)

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The Monk Downstairs: A Novel by Tim Farrington

Rebecca Martin is a single mother with an apartment to rent and a sense that she has used up her illusions. I had the romantic thing with my first husband, thank you very much, she tells a hapless suitor. I'm thirty-eight years old, and I've got a daughter learning to read and a job I don't quite like. I don't need the violin music. But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, on the lam after twenty years in a monastery and smack dab in the middle of a dark night of the soul, Rebecca begins to suspect that she is not as thoroughly disillusioned as she had thought.

Her daughter, Mary Martha, is delighted with the new arrival, as is Rebecca's mother, Phoebe, a rollicking widow making a new life for herself among the spiritual eccentrics of the coastal town of Bolinas. Even Rebecca's best friend, Bonnie, once a confirmed cynic in matters of the heart, urges Rebecca on. But none of them, Rebecca feels, understands how complicated and dangerous love actually is.

As her unlikely friendship with the ex-monk grows toward something deeper, and Michael wrestles with his despair while adjusting to a second career flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, Rebecca struggles with her own temptation to hope. But it is not until she is brought up short by the realities of life and death that she begins to glimpse the real mystery of love, and the unfathomable depths of faith.

Beautifully written and playfully engaging, this novel is about one man wrestling with his yearning for a life of contemplation and the need for a life of action in the world. But it's Rebecca's spirit, as well as her relationships with Mary Martha, Phoebe, her irresponsiblesurfer ex-husband Rory — and, of course, the monk downstairs — that makes this story shine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062517869
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/12/2003
Edition description: First HarperCollins Paperback Edition
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.32(w) x 7.96(h) x 0.74(d)

About 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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Monk Downstairs 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The story is quite sweet. However, what makes this story great is Farrington's way with words. The story is told with wit, great imagery, and some impressive one-liners.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This delightful book offers a warm mix of feelings as the two main characters learn to adjust to their own life changes as well as making space for each other. Farrington is indeed a sensitive writer who throws in enough humor to bring a smile to your face when you least expect it. I thoroughly enjoyed this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book tells the fragile story of Rebecca and Michael as they embark on a messy, fabulous journey toward love and meaning. What makes this more than a "love story," though, is Farrington's ability to capture the complications of romantic intimacy and individual spriituality with a light touch and keen insight. Both Rebecca and Michael come to the relationship with plenty of baggage, and it is Farrington's ability to tell their story with wisdom and wit, in careful, kind words that makes this story exceptional. Read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't wait to read the second book. I fell in love with the characters and can't wait to see how it turns out. It was a quick read and very enjoyable. It was one of our book club selections, and I would most definitely recommend it to family and friend. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the monk. I read this many years ago and still think of him.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked the plot -- a monk, who leaves the monastery and discovers that a 6-year-old girl (or small children in general) understands life better than he does after years of meditation. Because of his long celibacy and loneliness, he approaches secular life cautiously and thoughtfully. So far, so good. What I did not like were the boring dialogues and the many occasions when the author needs to tell us that something was funny because it really wasn't. Also, the couple's arguments rarely made sense.
Anonymous 11 months ago
A unique story in how these clearly flawed people don't solve their problems with bland religious platitues or bubble gum happiest ever after. I loved the slow working progress of love and devotion. It's heartfelt response of two people coming from opposing and failed lives, each to trying build a place to call home.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The one near here had an on line computer sales of ink cart. And went bankrupt and had to sell monestary property for debts . They also gave their miniture railroad set up to a train club and the horses they were training out of bad habits by a horse whisper monk they had a corp. Air plae too.they had a latin mass open to visitors the sisters of prepetual adoration are on line and go in to pray with printouts and have a retreat house for public religios bed and beakfast.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do people really talk like this? I was more interested in the minor characters. They seemed more like people I could relate to. I wish I had spent the hours on a book that gave me more to contemplate. A better book about relationships and romance is I Capture the Castle.