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Buddha Da [Paperback]

Anne Donovan , Ann Donovan
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)

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Book Description

2 Jan 2003
In her hugely acclaimed debut Anne Donovan tells an endearing, humorous yet unsentimental story of a working-class Glaswegian man who discovers Buddhism, rejects old habits and seeks a life more meaningful, only to alienate his immediate family in the process. Moving seamlessly between three family members, Donovan's clear-eyed, richly expressive prose sings off the page. Each character's voice has its own subtle rhythm and the conclusion is a poignant mixture of hope and lingering reservations. Buddha Da is a delight from one of Britian's best writers.


Product details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books (2 Jan 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1841953385
  • ISBN-13: 978-1841953380
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 13.6 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (45 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 870,499 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"All Donovan's characters are likable and convincing, and her light touch allows her to tackle serious matters without getting too heavy."

Book Description

New edition of Anne Donovan's critically acclaimed, bestselling first novel

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating because it starts well 10 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback
The first 100 pages or so of this book are a genuine joy. An interesting premise is established and I was very interested to find out what would happen.

However I actually felt pretty bit let down by how the story then lapsed into melodrama, with Jimmy's character in particular being abandoned. You would need a shovelful of salt to swallow the events that unfold.

According to this book: i) everybody in the west end of Glasgow speaks in some sort of Weegie Patois; and ii) Buddhism, er, isn't much cop. To respond to Donovan in her own Weegie Patois: "Naw, hen."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buddha-bing 27 Dec 2004
Format:Paperback
I thought this book was going to be more about Buddhism but it's really a nicely-written Domestic Troubles book. You can sense the author starts off being interested in the husband character but then she gets a bit bored with him and starts writing about the wife character instead. A little like the way the Simpsons started off being about Bart but is now centered around Homer.
The Scottish dialect isn't intrusive, and it's well-handled. But although there's three different streams of narrative, all the characters do tend to speak with the same voice. Sometimes it reads like someone having a coversation in their own head.
But it is entertaining, moving, different and enjoyable.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable read 23 Jan 2005
Format:Paperback
This book tells the story of Glaswegian Painter and Decorator, Jimmy McKenna, as he discovers Buddhism, and the impact this has on him and his immediate family as he becomes more and more committed. The story is told chronologically by the three characters of Jimmy, his wife Liz and daughter Anne Marie. Unlike other books written in this structure, you do not lose the thread of who is talking as you can clearly recognise each character in the writing.
The book is writen as spoken Glaswegian, which means the first few pages take some getting used to. However at the end of this book, I didn't notice this anymore and it suits the book.
The story is simply told and well-written so that you tear through the book at a blistering pace. The characters are well rounded which helps you have an interest in what is happening to them. This is one of the few books I have given five stars too and I thoroughly recommend it.
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33 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Quite Enlightenment Hen, but nae bad either 20 May 2003
Format:Paperback
As a Buddhist living in Scotland I was keen to read this story to see what representation the author gave the philosophy and it's Scottish, Nae, Glaswegian, edge.
And like another reviewer I couldn't put the book down, until it reached what I felt was a weaker middle act than the gentle humour of the preceeding one. The book really draws you in but I felt the path she lead me down was bogged down far too heavily in the life of one of the three characters in the book (written as alternating points of view from Father, Mother and Daughter).
It's the mother that you learn the most from, but like a lot of readers I felt a little cheated that she didn't give more attention as to what was happening in terms of the Painter and Decorator Father's unusual choice of becoming a Buddhist. Maybe I am biased, but I think that his story stops just as it was getting interesting.
I felt that Donovan gives a neutral view of the practice of Buddhism - even with what may based on the (very) Tibetan group Samye Dzong - and I felt that some of her observations were quite carefully researched and gently put forward.
But when she writes outwith of the Glaswegian vernacular I find her characters to be a little thin - especially the characters on the retreat near the beginning of the book. They just seem to exist so that the central three characters have got something to bounce off on. I find the same is true of Irvine Welsh when he writes outwith his "Ebmra-speak." The other voices seem a tad two dimensional.
The daughter's voice is very well developed (with one or two minor niggles - would a twelve year old really say "How's the Yogic Flying going Dad ?") but reading the daughter's inner dialogue was a delight in the main.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 1 Feb 2005
Format:Paperback
I bought this book as a Christmas present to my dad. Now the whole family have read and enjoyed it. Its easily readable but interesting enough to keep you reading it. I'd recommend it and say its not really about religion but how changes impact on families.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars buddha brilliant 25 Jan 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
My friend kept telling me to read this book because it was briliant, i kept putting off because i didn't like the title {how shallow] However I was very pleasantly surprised,
it is the first book I have read by anne donovan and won't be the last. It was not what i expected and i really enjoyed it, i thought that the glasweigan slang would be hard to understand but it wasn't at all.
I just loved the whole story, and the characters were believable and realistic, it was sad, it was funny and most of all it was great.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars enjoyable but superficial 27 Aug 2010
By H. Ashford VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Briefly, Jimmy, a Glaswegian painter/decorator, discovers Buddhism; in the course of seeking enlightenment he rejects old habits, only to alienate his immediate family in the process.

I found the book pleasant and easy to read, and didn't mind about the dialect once I got into it. However, although I enjoyed the beginning, I soon found myself losing interest.

Whereas the two female characters, Liz (wife) and Anne-Marie (teenage daughter) are fairly well drawn, the main character, Jimmy, remains much more superficial. For instance we don't get any feel for why Buddhism is so important to him that he is prepared to give up his life with his family.

I certainly don't agree with the publishers assertion that "each character's voice has its own subtle rhythm" - actually I thought all three voices sounded exactly the same and I frequently had to look back to the start of the chapter to see which character was talking. Donovan didn't manage to create a convincing male character for me - and this means that the book lacked depth.

Further, I didn't get any new insights into Buddhism (which isn't a subject I know much about at all) - and that was disappointing. I felt that the issue Donovan really wanted to explore was the conflict between family commitment vs the self-centred (and ultimately selfish) need for self-discovery - and that Buddhism was merely a convenient vehicle to hang her theme on.

Unfortunately, because Jimmy is not clear enough as a character, she isn't able to do explore this theme particularly well - and the book becomes more of an exploration of Liz's mid-life crisis (which is portrayed much more empathetically than Jimmy's).

In summary, an interesting and enjoyable "slice of life" story, but somehow superficial.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is my favourite book and I had to get another copy of ...
This is my favourite book and I had to get another copy of it because I had given away the one I had before. Read more
Published 12 days ago by trizzie
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
This is the second book i bought first was paperback a few years ago leant it out never to be seen again , now on kindle and still laughed as much as i did the time i read it
Published 3 months ago by amber
3.0 out of 5 stars Novel read
I really enjoyed the novel way this was written in Scottish dialect, sometimes a challenge to an English man. It was a good story with a slightly disappointing end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by drewolly
4.0 out of 5 stars A Witty Examination of the Path to Enlightenment
A bittersweet, rather lovely novel about the difficulty of combining a search for religious enlightenment with the daily business of being part of a family. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Kate Hopkins
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read set in glasgow.
In lowland/weegie dialect that works well - e.g. C u Amazon, ye're a right pain in the erse demanding a preset minimum nummer o' words in a coamment. Piss aff!
Published 11 months ago by Leslie Meade
5.0 out of 5 stars Slow reader
This book is beautifully written in Glaswegian speech, as an english person living in scotland, I love the way people speak but it took me a long to understand what was being said. Read more
Published 14 months ago by J. Crossley
3.0 out of 5 stars Quite a nice book
Easy 'Sunday' reading for me, quite liked it even though it look a while before I got into the Glaswegian accent it's written in. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Feeling_charmed
2.0 out of 5 stars Buddah da
The book starts off great, laughed out loud at a good few bits. The dialect is terrific, really broad Glasgow. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Big Marf
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
Chose this randomly, I was in between series and needed something to read while i waited on my new book being delivered. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Karis
1.0 out of 5 stars Loses pace and direction after the first two thirds
This novel starts off well with an interesting premise and plot line. However, Donovan is unable to sustain interest in the narrative and it tails off badly towards the end with a... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Amabugg
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