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Buddha Da

3.7  ·  Rating Details ·  1,169 Ratings  ·  152 Reviews
Anne Marie's Da, a Glaswegian painter and decorator, has always been game for a laugh. So when he first takes up meditation at the Buddhist Centre, no one takes him seriously (especially when his pursuit of the new lama ends in a trip round the Carmunnock bypass). But as Jimmy becomes more involved in a search for the spiritual, his beliefs start to come into conflict with ...more
Paperback, 352 pages
Published May 3rd 2009 by Canongate Books (first published 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,156)
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Apr 26, 2012 Algernon rated it liked it
Shelves: 2012
[7/10] This is a re-read for me, confirming the good impressions from the first visit, but also showing why I considered it well written but not all that memorable (I've forgotten a lot of details). There's also the Glaswegian brogue in which the text is rendered, prompting me to give a warning to readers who are turned off by such deviations from standard English. Personally I found a lot of the charm and authenticity of this book is due to this local flavor.

What I love about the story is the
Oct 07, 2007 Larry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: serious
The world is about the same size, but we are definitely all closer to other cultures than we have ever been before.

What happens when part of one culture fits an individual better than his own culture?

"Ma Da's a nutter...He'd dae anthin for a laugh so he wid...but that wis daft stuff compared tae whit he's went and done noo. He's turnt intae a Buddhist.
At first Ma thought it was anther wanny his jokes."

And life for Jimmy gets a tad more complicated after that.

This is one of those stories with
Elizabeth Moffat
Jun 25, 2013 Elizabeth Moffat rated it liked it
As a proud Scotswoman this novel appealed to me not only because it was short-listed for the Orange Prize (now the Woman’s Prize for Fiction), but because it was written in the Glaswegian dialect in the same manner as Irvine Welsh’s novels. It is the story of a family, consisting of Jimmy, Liz and their young daughter Anne-Marie, and how their lives are turned upside down when Jimmy decides to explore his spiritual side by becoming a Buddhist. Each chapter is written from the point of view of th ...more
Alicia Lemar
Dec 09, 2009 Alicia Lemar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have one very important piece of advice about this novel - read it out loud. It is written in dialect, and it is hard to make sense of the words when only reading them with your eyes. As you read it out loud, you start to get a feel for the words in your mouth and you can actually begin to hear the dialogue much clearer. This is a really neat way to read, I discovered, and I almost wish more authors would write this way.

Now to begin the review. Jimmy is a Glasgow painter, father and husband. H
Deborah Pickstone
Easily 5.5 or 6 stars

Absolutely shot straight into my lifetime favourites list! I normally find prize-listed books disappointing but not this one. Each family member has their very own voice and, in places, this book achieves the Holy Grail of stream-of-consciousness that so many writers have attempted to write, mainly unsuccessfully. The characterisation is wonderful - the character observation is acute, meaningful and entertaining. Jimmy is one of the most lovable characters I have come across
Oct 07, 2010 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
"This was the first novel I read this year, after a long break from reading for pleasure (I don't consider reading about programming to be in that category :-) I actually started the book around a year ago, and although immediately found myself laughing out loud, once I closed it, it was hard for me to pick it up again - more to do with my lifestyle than anything lacking in the book.

I'm so glad I got round to it again, and soon found it difficult to put down. I found myself engrossed in the cha
PJ Swanwick
Nov 17, 2012 PJ Swanwick rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, spiritual
Glasgow dialect, Buddhist theme make literary novel 'dead beezer'

Shortlisted for the Orange Prize and Whitbread First Novel Award, "Buddha Da" chronicles the changes in an ordinary Glasgow family when the father decides to become a Buddhist. Anne Donovan's formidable writing skills make this novel a stunning read.

Spiritual/metaphysical content: Medium. Jimmy plunges deep into his Buddhist teachings, eventually leaving his middle-class family to live at the temple. He tries to explain his incompr
Jun 13, 2012 Sibyl rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was actually the third time I had read this book. It's a novel which is strong and stylish and original enough to stand up to re-reading.

One of the things I like about 'Buddha Da' is that it is incredibly hard to (try and) write about the experience of meditating without being boringly pretentious and/or self-indulgent. But Annie Donovan does a wonderfully neat job, evoking what the quest for Englightenment can do to the inside your head - and just how annoying this may be to others.

Aug 08, 2008 Marie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recently-read
I enjoyed this book to a point. Gently amusing. Heartfelt in places. Relationship between the girls perfectly pitched.In fact, I felt that all the central female characters were very well drawn and fully realised.
Jimmy, the da, wasn't.
It was an interesting premise: Jimmy develops a growing interest in Buddhism - alienating his family- while he floats on seemingly oblivious to real life around him. The problem I had with this was that Jimmy and Liz, and Jimmy and Annmarie had previously enjoyed
Mar 11, 2015 Chiara rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is written is Scottish, so when I first realised it I thought I wouldn't be able to read it, considering that English is not my first language. However I could read it easily and I enjoyed it! The book follows the story from the points of view of Jimmy, his wife Liz and his daughter Anne Marie. Each character is interesting and realistic and evolves through the story. I recommend it!
Sep 12, 2011 Lucy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scotland, 2011
This was a lovely little book which tackled extremely difficult issues in a very warm and accessible read.

Written in 'Glaswegian' it explores the story of Glasgow couple Jimmy and Liz and their daughter Anne-Marie, as Jimmy decides to become a buddhist.
The characters are all confused but kindhearted and have a reality about them that is instantly recognisable.

It wasn't a difficult read (despite the issues addressed) and I finished it over a weekend. What a completely enjoyable weekend it was.
Juliet Wilson
Jun 15, 2009 Juliet Wilson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
This book is an engaging story of a family whose lives are changed when Jimmy, the father decides he wants to become a Buddhist. He just hadn't thought how his search for personal enlightenment might hurt the people close to him. The story is narrated by each member of the family in turn, and it is funny and moving, with a quiet but incomplete resolution at the end. Well worth reading.
Nov 21, 2015 Donald rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those books I'd heard a lot about that, for me anyway, didn't live up to the hype.
Set in Glasgow, my home, and written in Glaswegian', it's not quite the novelty it may be for others, plus it's all so ordinary.
Jimmy, a painter and decorator, typical Glaswegian, suddenly finds enlightenment and his perfect family life falls apart.
Sadly I think plenty of women would love their stale marriages to have an excuse to breakdown. Buddhism is the catalyst here, which is ironic really.
The n
Aug 24, 2015 Melanie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karen M
Mar 25, 2016 Karen M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This novel was just a pure delight.

It tells a simple story about a Glasgow family going about life. Jimmy, the dad, has become an accidental Bhuddist. Liz, the mum, is none too impressed. Anne Marie the 12 year old daughter, both sees and doesn't see what's going on as Jimmy's spiritual quest wreaks havoc amongst them.

These three characters are rendered with great tenderness, and they're all completely loveable and could belong to the family of any one of us. Donovan dips her ladle deep into t
Oct 19, 2014 Pac rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Deceivingly simple. The novel's humanity is like inspired by Buddha himself, and so its lack of any tendency to be judgmental towards its many interesting characters. They are all approached with a clear understanding of what makes people act the way they do. The whole novel is about the interior life of its three main characters, and the events they go through, narrated as three interconnected streams of consciousness , as Jimmy, the father, "discovers" Buddhism. This is why the choice of Glasg ...more
Sep 08, 2016 Frankie rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013, scottish
This was an easy fun read. disappointed in the ending. Felt a bit rushed. Enjoyed the glasgow dialect. love books with different view points.
Bobbie Darbyshire
A Glaswegian painter and decorator starts to practise Buddhist meditation and abstention. Simple and unaffected, quietly humorous, the story unfolds through the natural dialogue and thoughts of Jimmy, his wife and his young daughter. The three Glaswegian voices are beautifully written, which bowled me over when I first read this in 2004. This time through, I found myself skimming some longueurs, I wasn’t convinced Jimmy would be so unaware of the effects he was having, and the ending (no spoiler ...more
Sian Powell
Jun 25, 2014 Sian Powell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was written in Glaswegian which some people might find difficult. I actually enjoyed it more (or maybe "mair") because the real Scottish voice of the characters came through. There was no huge drama in the book but I like stories about ordinary folk, doing ordinary things - Anne Donovan can breath life into ordinary situations. I was more interested in Jimmy's story and his journey through Buddhism than Liz's story but the book seemed to focus on Liz. I also couldn't work out why she w ...more
May 21, 2015 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
This was a light, entertaining and quick read which I really enjoyed. I listened to it in audio, complete with Scottish accented narrator. I really liked the characters in this book. They were so realistic, funny and flawed in a normal human way. The characters’ problems were believable and relatable.

Anne Marie is a young teenager growing up in Scotland. Her dad, a house painter, suddenly finds Buddhism out of nowhere and introduces upheaval into her family life. Her mother, Liz, finds herself i
May 07, 2011 Nadya rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookclub
It's not as though I didn't enjoy this book - it is very enjoyable - it's just that when I'd finished I didn't feel as if it'd moved me in anyway. Although the language is cleverly done to make you feel as if you're a neighbour of these people, that you could be living on the same street, I didn't feel like the plot was cleverly written or with a message that went very far.

It's a good read, an easy read, one that can be done quickly. I'm glad I read it. But because I've read so many books lately
At first bein a Buddhist didnae see tae make that much difference tae ma da. He used tae go doon the pub on a Tuesday and noo he went tae the Buddhist Centre tae meditate. Same difference. He never talked aboot it, wis still the same auld da, gaun tae his work, cairryin on in the hoose. He stuck a photie of the Buddha up on the unit in their bedroom and noo and again he'd go in there and shut the door insteid of watchin the telly -- meditatin, he said. Ah thought he'd get fed up wi it. He wisnae ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Roberta rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book! I am a student of Buddhism and found it humorous, wise, and interesting, liking the main characters a great deal--a family of three--mom, "da", and a teenage daughter. The setting is Glasgow, Scotland, and the novel is written is Glasow dialect, which seems hard to read at first and then suddenly you get it with no trouble. It's almost another character. "Da"--Jimmy--is an interior house painter who becomes fascinated by the Buddhist Centre not far from their neighbor ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Garry rated it liked it
I've taken to having a mug of Horlicks before bed. I'm not sure that Horlicks is available everywhere in the world, but it should be: it's a malted milk hot drink that tastes like heaven and leaves the drinker sighing with pleasure.

Buddha Da is the literary equivalent of Horlicks.

It's a story of Jimmy, a burly Scottish painter who used to be fond of a pint or two, and who has been known to get absolutely smashed at parties. That all turns around when Jimmy discovers Buddhism, and leaves that lif
Feb 14, 2013 Hazel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of my main criticisms when I am reading and reviewing books is that sometimes I struggle with a particular vernacular. If it is written with a heavy Southern or Negro vernacular then I find it hard to get into the story and I am often tempted to give up as I am not enjoying the book. See my review on Go Tell it on the mountain by James Baldwin if you need an example.

So, it was with this in mind that I chose this book as this months read for one of my book groups. I wanted the others to get s
I'm in the middle of a non-fiction and Les Miserables, so thought my daytime read should be something a bit lighter, so I picked up this one which has been sat on my shelves since 2007!
Buddha Da, is set in Scotland and told through the voices of the three central characters in a broad Scottish brogue - which I know some people struggle with but I've read Scottish books before and found this just as easy as reading in Standard English.
The story starts out with the traditional Scottish father-typ
May 22, 2010 Angie rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book very much. It is heartwarming and very charming in its own way. Initially the Glaswegian dialect (it is written throughout like this, each chapter told by one of the 3 central characters), is quite tricky to focus on in written format, however, as I am an adopted 'weegie' I really got into the rhythm of it pretty quickly. I really have no excuse!

The story is a very day to day story of a family: a mother, father and their 12 year old daughter. Jimmy, the father, starts
Sep 24, 2013 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alan by: Sibyl
Shelves: novels, 2013
very enjoyable, and just when I thought it lagged a bit, it stepped up a gear. More later..

A truly warm hearted novel of family life in Glasgow, interrupted/disrupted by the father’s decision to become a Buddhist. The mother/wife and daughter find it difficult to cope with this new phase, and the strange new ideas that come about, orange robed lamas at the door and daily meditation. The narrative – multiple first person - moves between the three characters, Liz (mother), AnnMarie and Jimmy, and
Sarah Key
Aug 07, 2012 Sarah Key rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
I have been trying to read more female writers, and I started my search with a list of Orange Prize winners and nominees. Anne Donovan's Buddha Da was a shortlisted nominee in 2003. However, I didn't care for the book.

It is written entirely in a Glaswegian accent, which is basically a Scottish accent that is even more difficult for non-natives to understand. I read the first 70 to 80 pages very slowly before I started to recognize a pattern and form an understanding of the writing style. It was
Jan 15, 2011 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just thinking about this book this morning. I read it a while ago, but it stays with me. I think it captures well, a modern man catching the Buddhism bug, and what happens from there. I have not read many Buddhist novels, that depict Buddhist themes, have Buddhists in them. Supposedly only .7% of the USA (not where this novel is set) is Buddhist, so it's hardly a minority culture in the USA. There are a surprising amount of Buddhist books. I've also read Nixon Under The Bodhi Tree, which is a co ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

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;
More about Anne Donovan...

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