The Monk Downstairs by Tim Farrington
A Novel

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Synopsis

Rebecca Martin is a single mother with an apartment to rent and a sense that she has used up her illusions. I had the romantic thing with my first husband, thank you very much, she tells a hapless suitor. I'm thirty-eight years old, and I've got a daughter learning to read and a job I don't quite like. I don't need the violin music. But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, on the lam after twenty years in a monastery and smack dab in the middle of a dark night of the soul, Rebecca begins to suspect that she is not as thoroughly disillusioned as she had thought.

Her daughter, Mary Martha, is delighted with the new arrival, as is Rebecca's mother, Phoebe, a rollicking widow making a new life for herself among the spiritual eccentrics of the coastal town of Bolinas. Even Rebecca's best friend, Bonnie, once a confirmed cynic in matters of the heart, urges Rebecca on. But none of them, Rebecca feels, understands how complicated and dangerous love actually is.

As her unlikely friendship with the ex-monk grows toward something deeper, and Michael wrestles with his despair while adjusting to a second career flipping hamburgers at McDonald's, Rebecca struggles with her own temptation to hope. But it is not until she is brought up short by the realities of life and death that she begins to glimpse the real mystery of love, and the unfathomable depths of faith.

Beautifully written and playfully engaging, this novel. is about one man wrestling with his yearning for a life of contemplation and the need for a life of action in the world. But it's Rebecca's spirit, as well as her relationships with Mary Martha, Phoebe, her irresponsible surfer ex-husband Rory -- and, of course, the monk downstairs -- that makes this story shine.

 

About Tim Farrington

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Tim Farrington is the author of "Lizzie's War", "The Mon Tim Farrington is the author of "Lizzie's War", "The Monk Downstairs", ?a New York Times Notable Book?and "The Monk k Downstairs", ?a New York Times Notable Book?and "The Monk Upstairs", as well as the critically acclaimed novels "The CUpstairs", as well as the critically acclaimed novels "The California Book of the Dead" and "Blues for Hannah". alifornia Book of the Dead" and "Blues for Hannah".
 
Published June 17, 2010 by HarperCollins e-books. 320 pages
Genres: Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Romance. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Monk Downstairs

Kirkus Reviews

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The latest New Age soap opera from Farrington (Blues for Hannah, 1998, etc.) follows the perils and joys of a cloistered monk who moves to San Francisco.

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of The Monk Downstairs: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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An independent, "unremarkable" single mother of one and an introverted ex-monk are the unlikely couple sharing the spotlight in this delightful, Anne Tyler-ish third novel from the author o

Mar 04 2002 | Read Full Review of The Monk Downstairs: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Much trepidation predictably gives way to heated romance, though Michael wrestles with his crisis of faith via letters back and forth to the abbey brothers, and Rebecca, between bouts of bailing Rory out of jail, questions whether a romantic relationship with a man like Michael would be a true "f...

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Spirituality & Practice

Reviews Philosophy About Our Affiliates Books & Audios Recently Reviewed In this sprightly sequel to The Monk Downstairs (2002), Tim Farrington begins with the marriage of Mike, an ex-monk who works at McDonald's and prays a lot, and Rebecca, a d...

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