Published in 2012, Lunch with Buddha by Roland Merullo is the sequel to Breakfast with Buddha, and features the same main characters as the first book, Otto Ringling (and his family), and Volya Rinpoche and Cecelia (Otto's sister), who now have a daughter, Shelsa. Like its prequel, it's a road trip book; this appealed to my bohemian side, which relishes the thought of getting into a car or truck with just a few things and going on a true, unscripted adventure. In Lunch with Buddha, the road trip is from Seattle, Washington to Dickenson, North Dakota. Otto and Rinpoche (everyone calls him by his last name) drive through Washington State, across the Idaho Panhandle, across Montana, and into North Dakota, and experience a myriad of fun adventures.
"There were cherries by the pound and salmon jerky for sale in roadside stands, a small white chapel to the left, closed up. We passed another sign for espresso--they were everywhere in this state; perhaps people slept so deeply in the wonderful air that they needed help waking up--and then Bubba's Road House, wiith a sign that read, EAT BIG FOOD."
~Lunch with Buddha, Roland Merullo
Lunch with Buddha focuses on a spiritual quest or journey as well. Many of their adventures involve water of some sort (Old Faithful, Boiling River), which may symbolize the desire for renewal as well as the need to be fluid and flexible in life, to "go with the flow". Otto, the protagonist and narrator of this novel, is presently in need of some answers and comfort in his life, and although he's analytical and skeptical, he senses (and hopes) that his brother-in-law Rinpoche, who's a spiritual guru to many, may possess the wisdom and peace he seeks. On this road trip, Otto, who's both a "foodie" and an editor of food books, is searching not only for culinary bliss but also for internal sustenance and meaning, and answers to some of life's most profound and perplexing questions.
I found myself marveling over Roland Merullo's appealing, lucid, insightful, and, yes, "enlightened" writing, which is equally sensitive and humorous. The idea of the physical, external journey being connected to the inner, spiritual journey is endearingly presented in this novel, with ample humor and grace. Lunch with Buddha is a delicious and divine novel, and although it stands alone quite well, I cannot wait to also read Breakfast with Buddha.
Would you like to win a copy of Lunch with Buddha? The publisher, AJAR Contemporaries, is generously offering a copy of Lunch with Buddha to one of my readers (U.S./Canada only).
- To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment.
- For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
- For an additional chance, post about this contest on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter.
- For one more chance, leave a brief comment about a road trip you enjoyed.
Enter by 5 PM PST on Monday, December 10. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, December 11.
Special thanks to Lisa from TLC for sending me this book. To read more reviews of this novel, please visit the other stops on TLC's book tour for Lunch with Buddha.