This novel has been labeled Buddhist fiction by Kimberly French in her 15 Feb 2010 “Guide to Buddhist Fiction” blogpost and its veracity re Buddhism is discussed in a 1994 Tricycle book review by Kate Wheeler, “Stones of the Dalai Lama“. It can also be found on the reading list of the Tibetan Buddhist Community of Lexington, Kentucky. This is the first novel written by a Canadian author to be reviewed on the Buddhist fiction blog. It was published in 1993 by Soho Press.
The Abebooks synopsis reads: “Bob Harlow is an academic; Vern Cugnet, an auto mechanic. Besides this difference, Bob has another distinction: his once pleasant life in Bismarck, North Dakota, is going to hell. Terrible things are befalling Bob, his family and friends: strange infections and nasty infestations, thefts and accidents, one of which is fatal. Bob realizes that the jinx is the result of what happened in Tibet. At the end of a year-long sabbatical boondoggle in China, he took a sidetrip to a remote and sacred region of Tibet known as the Place of the Dead. There, thoughtlessly, he committed sacrilege. He casually pocketed two mani stones – engraved funeral markers – as souvenirs. Since that moment he seems to have been accursed. So now he has no choice. No matter what the obstacles, he must return the sacred objects. Vern Cugnet, naive, crude and indomitable, volunteers to go along and the unlikely companions set out to undo the spell. The trek will take them through China, India and Nepal and involve them in border frays, encounters with holy hermits and bloodthirsty demons, and an audience with the Dalai Lama himself. Stones of the Dalai Lama is an original, mystical and serious comedy about life, the afterlife, and what not to mess with in between.”
* The Abebooks synopsis was used in lieu of the Soho Press description because the Soho Press web site was down for maintenance when I checked.