Anne Marie's dad, a Glaswegian painter and decorator, has always been game for a laugh. So when he first takes up meditation at the Buddhist Center, no one takes him seriously. But as Jimmy becomes more involved in a search for the spiritual, his beliefs start to come into conflict with the needs of his wife, Liz. Cracks appear in their apparently happy family life, and the ensuing events change the lives of each family member.
Year of Publication
The charm of Anne Donovan’s novel is not just in its conceit: Jimmy, a painter and decorator from the West, suddenly decides that life is suffering, desire is the cause of suffering and Buddha is the way. It’s not his first enthusiasm, but it is the one that causes most pain to his wife and child. But in delightful Scots, Donovan catches a crisis, a resolution, an affair and a transformation. -- Stuart Kelly
In her brilliant debut novel, Anne Donovan tells the humorous, poignant story of a working-class Glaswegian man, Jimmy, who discovers Buddhism, rejects old habits and seeks a life more meaningful – only to alienate his immediate family in the process.
It might not be your first thought when seeking out fictional heroines, and you would be forgiven for thinking this was simply a novel about one man’s journey. But this beautifully crafted book has two fantastic female characters – Jimmy’s wife, Liz, and his young daughter, Anne Marie.
It’s Anne Marie who has the first words of the novel – ‘Ma da’s a nutter. Radio rental’ and also the last, and almost by surprise, you find that it’s her voice which lingers on as you close the book.
Sometimes it’s the everyday heroines who are the most quietly affecting. -- Wendy Kirk, Glasgow Women's Library
Anne Donovan’s prize-winning short stories have been published in various anthologies and broadcast on BBC radio. Her collection Hieroglyphics and Other Stories came out in 2001. 2003 saw the release of her debut novel Buddha Da, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize; both books published by Canongate Books. A resident of Glasgow, Scotland, Donovan often employs the local, working-class dialect in her writing; as she says, it provides "a more direct line to the heart, you get closer."