This first month of this new Gregorian calendar year has gone by so quickly that, in an effort to feel like I still have time to ground myself in a new cycle, I have fully embraced the lunar new year that will be celebrated into early February. Time is supposedly fluid, after all. Looking back on 2022 and the books mentioned on this blog, we had a wide range of genres, including a children’s book, an alternative history, and modern Buddhist tales. Readers were introduced to a fiction work that focused on Mongolian Buddhism and three works of non-fiction. The third annual Buddhist Literary Festival Canada was announced, and the proceedings featured alumni authors from the Buddhist Fiction Blog in a collegial and enjoyable setting. As the year wound down, we recognized with gratitude the numerous award nominations for We Measure the Earth with our Bodies by Tsering Yangzom Lama, including The Giller Prize Shortlist, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize Longlist, and the Toronto Book Award Longlist.
As we look ahead, I am already so very excited about the first third of the year. Next month I review our Contributing Editor Kate Brandt’s debut novel, Hope for the Worst (2023). It will be released in early March, and since it is a Buddhist love story gone sideways, I thought posting a review around the secular observance of Valentine’s Day would be appropriate. I have only started reading it, but I am finding it hard to put the book down. The first-person narrative draws the reader in close like a lover even while the longing and pain of the protagonist positions the reader at arms length: we are voyeurs. You can learn more about Kate at https://katebrandt.net/ and you can pre-purchase a copy of Hope for the Worst here.
In March I will be reviewing a sequel novel, Hank Heals: A Novel of Miracles (November, 2022) by David Guy. Hank Heals is the sequel to Jake Fades: A Novel of Impermanence (2008). Since I enjoyed the first novel of the series so much, I am truly looking forward to reading more about the adventures of Henry “Hank” Wilder as he tries to establish a Zen center amidst the discovery of his unique spiritual gifts. You can learn more about David’s latest novel here: https://davidguy.org/ and it is available for purchase right now, here.
For April I am writing about approaching literature as a Buddhist reader. Scholars are beginning to turn a Buddhist eye toward classical literature, with interesting results. This spring post will briefly review recent scholarship around reading English literature through a Buddhist lens.
So stick around and invite others to join in as we shift into a !!SECOND DECADE!! of blogging about Buddhist fiction.