First-time novelist Hurley, a Pushcart Prize winner, has written about a subject that is not new in the Zen community: sexual abuse by a Zen Master. But the way she approaches the subject and her description of the psychological hold the Master has on his student is original.
Here is what the publisher, W. W. Norton, says about THE DEVOTED:
“A spellbinding confession of what it means to abandon one life for another, The Devoted asks what it takes, and what you’ll sacrifice, to find enlightenment.
“Nicole Hennessy’s life revolves around her Zen practice at the Boston Zendo, seeking solace in the tenets of Buddhism to the chagrin of her Irish Catholic family. After a decade of grueling spiritual practice under her Master’s tutelage, living on a shoestring budget as a shop clerk, Nicole has become dangerously entangled with her mentor. As Nicole confronts her past—a drug-fueled year spent fleeing her family’s loaded silences and guilt-laden “Our Fathers”—and reinvents herself in New York City, her Master’s intoxicating voice pursues her, an electrifying whisper on the other end of the phone. Somehow, he knows everything.
“In deft, soaring prose that bristles with psychological and erotic tension, Blair Hurley crafts a thrilling exploration of Nicole’s ecstatic quest for spirituality.”
THE DEVOTED will be reviewed here following release, expected in August. It can be pre-ordered from many sources.