When his sister tricks him into taking her guru on a trip to their childhood home, Otto Ringling, a confirmed 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.
©2007 Roland Merullo (P)2011 Tantor
"The skillful Merullo, using the lightest of touches, slowly turns this low-key comedy into a moving story of spiritual awakening." (Booklist)
Between the gentle narration, the extraordinary detailed thoughts and memories and the life lessons and suggested outlook, this book will be a recurring addition to everyone's favorites list.
I am a retired teacher who listens because she is vision impaired and can no longer read. I love history, a touch of fantasy, and mystery!
I have read - in college - a lot of Buddha's writings. They were interesting - but I never understood how they would be lived out as a part of life in a faithful Buddhist. This book, was an easy, "non-Preaching" way to learn a little more about Buddhist beliefs.
There were only two main characters - and I enjoyed them both. I could easily relate to Otto, a man on a journey to settle the estate of his deceased parents halfway across the U.S. The monk he travels with is almost a foil for Otto's discovery of the shallowness of his own life. I could almost feel Otto could have come to the same realizations through self-examination on a solitary drive to resolve the estate. Settling a family estate and tying up the loose ends of our own lives, seems the best natural opportunity for such introspection. I also can relate to the "holy man - monk" he travels with. The man is obviously a sincere believer - but he knows the futility of talking to a sceptic - so he just continues to live his life the way he normally does and only responds when questioned - and then in a very non assuming way.
He did an excellent job. He portrayed both characters without interfering with the writer's intentions - or the characters themselves.
I enjoyed the book and also enjoyed the self-examination it encouraged. After reading it, I went to a meditation - Tai Chi class and enjoyed it without feeling like it in anyway meant I was rejecting my own conservative Biblical faith. The book helped me see meditation as a way to relax and value your own life.
I wish my own life - was as good an example of my belief system as this "monk's" life was of his. I will pursue more meditation - without supplanting my own faith or threatening it in anyway.
Just what I need to listen too....timing is everything and I enjoyed the tempo, the story and the lessons I took away from it! can't wait to listen to lunch with Buddha?
There's so much to take in; I think I'll go buy the printed version. I'm really glad I can listen to it again. Definitely worth getting!
I considered reading this book many times but passed it by, thinking it didn't sound quite like the type of novel I prefer. Boy, am I glad I gave it a try. The story is so unexpected. I never had a clue as to what might happen next.
A man is conned by his free-spirited younger sister to give her friend, a Buddhist monk, a lift as he travels to North Dakota to settle their parent's estate. What happens along the way is one enjoyable road trip. At times funny, at times serious and sometimes very moving. While the story is not an attempt to convert you to Buddhism, it does make you think about how you view the world.
This book is the first of 3. You can read it as a stand-alone novel, but you won't be able to resist reading the final two books in this short series.
Was not sure what to expect but you just could not stop listening. Intriguing, light reading that strangely calmed me. Worth listening to for some spiritual guidance without a denomination of organized religion.
I stumbled upon this story in the audible collection accidentally. There must have been some sort of special on and thank goodness I clicked the purchase button. It was an amazing journey, with thought-provoking tales and ideas. I absolutely thought the narrator was perfect, as were his accents! I highly recommend.
I LOVED every moment of this book. It made me happy. made me reflect on my own view of life. You will NOT be sorry for spending your credit!
This book was well performed and had a good pace that kept my attention.
The moment when Otto, the main character, comes back to the North Dakota farm where he grew up and sees it through new eyes.
He has a pleasant voice, well suited to the main character; he sounded like a man in his mid life who has an open mind.
Otto Ringling, because I found him to be a man operating well in his world, but who is willing to see other people's experiences and learn from them.
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