Roland Merullo's playful, eloquent, and life-affirming novel finds the Pope and the Dalai Lama teaming up for an unsanctioned road trip through the Italian countryside to rediscover the everyday joys of life that can seem, even for the two holiest men in the world, unattainable.
What happens when the Pope and the Dalai Lama decide they need an undercover vacation? During a highly publicized official visit at the Vatican, the Pope suggests an adventure so unexpected and appealing that neither man can resist. Before dawn, two of the most beloved and famous people on the planet don disguises, slip into a waiting car, and experience the countryside as regular people. Along for the ride are the Pope's overwhelmed cousin Paolo and his estranged wife, Rosa, an eccentric hairdresser with a lust for life who cannot resist the call to adventure - or the fun.
Against a landscape of good humor, exploration and spiritual delight, not to mention the sublime rolling hills of Italy, The Delight of Being Ordinary showcases the charming sensibilities of Roland Merullo (whose best-selling Breakfast with Buddha has sold over 200,000 copies) in a novel that makes us laugh as well as think about the demands of ordinary life, spiritual life, and the identities by which we all define ourselves.
"The Delight of Being Ordinary is a thrilling book, a rip-roaring, risk-taking literary tour de force that kept me up late and moved me deeply. Bursting with laughter and suffused with the divine comedy of the human condition, the story makes our complicated world seem a broader, more generous place. In this ultimate celebrity road trip, Merullo has written a love story for our times." (Susan Cheever, author of Home Before Dark)
"Another genre-defying installment in Merullo's engaging series of seriocomic religious novels.... Admirers of previous volumes will recognize Merullo's knack for depicting goodness without treacle in his deft portraits of the pope and the Dalai Lama, and a La Dolce Vita-esque party scene spotlights his ability to discern humanity in the most decadent circumstances....moving and unnerving.... Lucid, unpretentious fiction spotlighting the drama of trying to make the divine part of our everyday lives." (Kirkus)
"A quirky but uplifting story in which Paolo de Padova, first assistant and cousin to Pope Francis, is asked to whisk away the pope and the visiting Dalai Lama on a clandestine vacation.... Merullo's newest is a thoughtful, compassionate, and mature work, a 'Christian- Buddhist-agnostic prayer' to the world, and readers will find a pleasant surprise in its conclusion." (Publishers Weekly)
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Not as good as the Breakfast/Lunch/Dinner trilogy
May be Merullo's best work yet!
- Mary Remmel Wohlleb