Every time I go down the internet rabbit hole looking for new Buddhist fiction I am surprised about the novels I have somehow missed or overlooked. But I guess if I’m going to discover new-to-me titles, summer is the best time to find them so that I can share this information with you. Here’s what I’ve found recently, listed in no particular order (and feel free to add to the list in the comments section):
1. Enlightenment for Idiots by Anne Cushman (Crown, 2008)
“A hilarious take on the quest for truth that manages to respect the journey while skewering many of the travelers… Cushman brings devastating wit and a thorough knowledge of her subject to her first novel, evoking an India that fills the senses and stirs the spirit even as it occasionally turns the stomach.” ~ Publishers Weekly
2. This Flawless Place Between by Bruno Portier (OneWorld Publications, 2012)
“Evocative of The Alchemist, This Flawless Place Between is a spellbinding reimagining of one of the world’s most influential and treasured spiritual texts.” ~ OneWorld Publicasions website
3. The Angry Buddhist by Seth Greenland (Europa Editions, 2012)
“Seth Greenland’s timely new novel is set in the high California desert between the trailer parks and amphetamine labs of Desert Hot Springs and the classic mid-century architecture of Palm Springs. In this sun-blasted territory, with its equally arid social culture, a fiercely contested congressional election is in progress. The wily incumbent, Randall Duke, is unburdened by ethical considerations. His opponent, Mary Swain, a sexy, well-financed newcomer, does not have a firm grip on American history or elemental economics.” ~ Europe Editions website
“In the beginning, it was easy to imagine their future. They were young and giddy, sure of themselves and of their love for each other. “Dept. of Speculation” was their code name for all the thrilling uncertainties that lay ahead. Then they got married, had a child and navigated the familiar calamities of family life—a colicky baby, a faltering relationship, stalled ambitions.
When their marriage reaches a sudden breaking point, the wife tries to retrace the steps that have led them to this place, invoking everything from Kafka to the Stoics to doomed Russian cosmonauts as she analyzes what is lost and what remains. In language that shimmers with rage and longing and wit, Offill has created a brilliantly suspenseful love story—a novel to read in one sitting, even as its piercing meditations linger long after the last page.”~ Penguin RandomHouse website
5. Exiles: A Novel by Cary Groner (Spiegel & Grau, 2011)
“Suspenseful and thought-provoking, Exiles is an extraordinary debut in which East meets West at the point where lives hang in the balance.” ~ RandomHouse Books website
6. Darcy Lott Mystery Series by Susan Dunlap (Counterpoint; Severn House, 2008 – 2016)
Darcy Lott is a Zen Buddhist, stunt-double and amateur detective. Susan Dunlap is an award winning mystery and crime author who infuses the dharma into her novels.
7. Your Emoticons Won’t Save You by Ethan Nichtern (Nieto Books, 2012)
Alex Bardo is witty, heartbroken, and lost. Going on 21, he is more interested in being the CEO of the Wannabe Poet’s Brigade than in his expensive education. Trying to find his way in the world after a debaucherous and painful summer of 1998 with his hyper-intellectual, trés annoying best friend Gabe, he sets out on a road trip to their childhood summer camp. Grabbing shotgun for the trip are his old camp friends, now all grown-up (sort of): Gideon the Player, Anthony the Traveling Man, and Lucas the Patron of Playtime. Alex is a true seeker and only a partial f-ck up: seeking spiritual aspirin to treat his perpetual hangover, seeking love, and seeking a mystical place called the “real world.””
8. The Stain: A Book of Reincarnation, Karma and the Release from Suffering by Charlene Jones (Stone’s Throw Publications, 2014)
“We live more than once. When three women, Tahni, Mary, and Diana are separated by centuries and vast cultural difference, experience eerily similar events, only one of them knows. How will she find the courage to undo The Stain?” – blurb from Wattpad, where you can read the entire novel.