Kirkus review

Kirkus Review published a review of the novel on their webpage; they complained that the characterization of the people wasn’t done well.  I find that odd; Brian Doonan, my editor, does too.  Of all the things that could be criticized in the novel, that one doesn’t seem valid.



  1. Hi all,

    On this Holy Saturday, I have a great deal to update. Best go grab a cuppa…

    First: Roger, dear friend, I didn’t break through into my enlightenment yesterday morning during my meditation. Instead, although Murphy tried numerous times to kill me off but broke
    too many teeth in the process, he’s enlisted his Dark Horse of the Apocalypse: my bipolar. Amazingly, something like 8 hours later, it disappeared. From prior experience, that seems impossible. As usual, I don’t understand. I’m supposed to see the Group Health psychiatrist in a couple of weeks.

    (For everyone: this is for you, even though you may find some of the rest difficult): But this morning, Holy Saturday, the day before Easter, a new and magical thing has very quietly arisen… (yes, that’s intentional), during meditation/prayer.

    For at least 2 decades I have had an impossible hope: that there be a melding of East and West spirituality, like the yin-yang symbol. The outside of the symbol is a circle, somewhat like our Zen enso, except that the enso looks unfinished, which is intentional. A circle represents all of manifest possibility. Inside, two symbols are entwined, filling up the whole circle. Each has a small dot from the other, so black (yin) has a small white circle, and white (yang), the opposite. In Chinese cosmology, the yin is feminine, manifest in the moon and the fecund earth. The yang (patriarchy? here?) is male, and manifest in the sun and the sky.

    (Note that I use realized to mean embodied). So, I’ve wanted a melding of East and West spirituality, much like the yin/yang symbol. I despaired of seeing any sign of it in my lifetime, but esp. now, with the craziness of the presidential primaries. But then came a fusion of East and West in 1968, when a Zen master in Japan unexpectedly invited some Christians (Catholic Jesuits and nuns) to join him in his zendo (meditation hall). About 1975 that collaboration manifested in a Zen-Christian monastery (established by the Jesuits! Yes!) in Shinmeikutsu, outside Tokyo. This ecumenism is one of the major themes of my novel, and referenced there.

    One of the 10,000 things I was hoping for in my marriage to Jeanne was that I could somehow embody what Christian mystics say the Christ wanted as a goal for us: that each of us become 100% human at the same time we manifested as 100% divine, the way Jesus modeled that. For us, that seemed possible, since Jeanne is a devout Christian mystic. Maybe this morning at prayer/meditation, the day before Easter, it happened, and so now I’m 100% a Zen monk, 100% a Christian mystic, 100% human, and 100% divine. The only phrase that stayed with me from yesterday morning is “I am not worthy”. I kept thinking that’s true, but something kept contradicting me, and no, it definitely wasn’t my lovely wife. I’ll keep you apprised of it.

    One thing more: Very occasionally I get asked for a bio, in relation to my novel. A short sentence suffices: “I AM a Jesuit-trained, lay-ordained Zen Buddhist monk.” Now that I’ve permanently lost my testicles to the cancer operation do I have the balls to realize that the all caps were actually necessary; the only thing that is true about me any more is that “I am”.

    We love you all,
    Jeanne & Dave

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