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Tidewater Review by Anne Stinson

Dinner with Buddha by Roland Merullo. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. 342 pp. $24.98. Roland Merullo w rote Breakfast with Buddha and sent it to Algonquin Books for publication ten years ago. Their house readers loved it, but they had reservations. Would the title limit its popularity? Buddhists in the United States are not exactly a prominent religious group. Not to worry ~ word of mouth spread so fast that in a short time 200,000 copies sold. Five years later Merullo wrote Lunc h w ith Budd ha ~ a not her winner. His new book, Dinner with Buddha, grabbed my attention from the first chapter, actually the first page, and held me until I read to the last page at midnight. I was dazzled by the author’s crisp, elegant prose, and the fastmoving story. Now I must read his early books on Buddha and some of his list of 11 non-Buddha novels. What a fantastic writer ~ I’m hooked. The novel takes us on a road trip from North Dakota through the Rocky Mountains with Otto Ring-

ling and his brother-inlaw, Volya Rinpoche (Merullo helps us with this pronunciation ~ Rin-po-shay). Otto is a retired widower who lives in the Bronx and visits his flaky sister Seese at the North Dakota farm where they grew up. His introduction on the first page sets the plot: Otto explains, “We had been speaking of Seese’s daughter, my niece, a seven-year-old named


July 2015 ttimes web magazine  

Tidewater Times july 2015