An Autumnal Harvest of Buddhist Fiction


One of the things I enjoy most about this blogging experience is interacting with other readers of Buddhist fiction. Recently I learned of some previously published novels I didn’t know about, and just last week I read about two very new works brought to my attention in Tricycle. So September has been a good month for harvesting information about good reads.

Buddhist fiction blog reader Richard Gordon emailed me to recommend three novels as works of Buddhist fiction. I get a lot of these kinds of emails and I usually know the book(s) that are being recommended. But I had not heard of any of these novels, and I did not have a lot of time to peruse the books myself, so I asked Richard why they thought these novels were “Buddhist” fiction. The answer I received was brief, yet detailed and knowledgeable. I was so grateful and thrilled!

I will be featuring these books in future reviews. They are as follows:

Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy. Open Road Media, 2014.

Nothing Sacred by Elizabeth Ann Scarborough. Gypsy Shadow Publishing, 2011. There is also a sequel entitled Last Refuge.

The Old Man and the Monkey King, by Robert Durand, which as the title suggests is an extension of Journey to the West, and in particular, the portion popularized as Monkey. Illustrations by Leslie Morrison. California: Capricorn Press, 1972.

More recently, Tricycle Magazine‘s fall 2021 issue offered an excerpt of Rafi Zabor’s new novel, Street Legal: A Novel (debuting in December, 2021 from Terra Nova Press). You can read it here:

Lastly, published an interview with Ruth Ozeki who talks about her latest novel, The Book of Form and Emptiness. Penguin, 2021.

The story is about a boy named Benny who begins to hear voices of mundane objects after his father dies. Ozeki relates that “The book takes its title from a key teaching of the Heart Sutra: “Form is emptiness. Emptiness is form.” It’s referring to the notion of dependent co-arising, or what Thich Nhat Hanh calls interbeing.”

I’m very excited that our contributing editor Chris Beal will be reviewing this novel in the near future.


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