Reading: Jake Fades

November 28, 2007

Jake Fades: A Novel of Impermanence is a wonderful book, that gives a more realistic impression of Buddhist priests than any book I’ve seen for a long time. The book covers meditation, sexuality, belief, death, which makes it sound like a snore, but is light and fun and a great read.

The main character Jake is an aging Zen Buddhist teacher, and his story is told through the eyes of one of his students, Hank. Jake is coming down with some sort of degenerative mental disease, and Hank tells the story of a trek they make to Boston to teach a meditation retreat, and through caring for Jake in his decline, tells his own story as well.

I really enjoyed this book a great deal. The writing is fun and always interesting. As someone who has been interested in meditation and Buddhism for years, but has never been on a meditation retreat, I thought the glimpse into that world was also enlightening.

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