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Buddha Da

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  950 ratings  ·  125 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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Stephen Jannetts
Feb 16, 2008 Stephen Jannetts rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Stephen by: Uncle Robert
While my Uncle was cutting my hair we started talking about what I was doing at school, and I told him that I had to do a dissertation for Advanced Higher English and that I wanted to do books about spiritualism. He mentioned that he had read Buddha Da a while before and recommended it to me, so off I went and bought it, newly groomed.

I still haven't finished this book. I ended up doing two other books for my dissertation because I could write enough about them without adding in a third. What I
...more
Algernon
[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
...more
Larry
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
...more
Alicia Lemar
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
...more
Elizabeth Moffat
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
Andrea
"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
...more
PJ Swanwick
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
...more
Sibyl
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.

Althoug
...more
Kia
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!
Lucy
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.
...more
Juliet Wilson
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.
Pac
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
Mary
Great 'change of pace' novel written in Glescaranto! and well done Family story with a different take Fun esp. reading aloud
Sian Powell
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
Nadya
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
...more
Beth
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
Roberta
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
Garry
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
...more
Hazel
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
...more
Katrina
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
...more
Angie
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
...more
Alan
Sep 24, 2013 Alan rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Sarah Key
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
...more
Steve
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
Holly Booms Walsh
Buddha Da is one of my perennial favorite audiobooks for the fantastic Glaswegian Scottish accent of the reader, but it is also a lovely tale of people finding themselves and choosing the next path for their lives. Jimmy is a house painter who finds himself drawn to Buddhism, and his study takes him away from his previously comfortable life of wife, daughter, pints at the pub, and normal workaday life. His wife Liz is mystified by this change in her husband, and begins to examine her own life as ...more
Marie
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
...more
Larry
Most enjoyable read. Great first effort by this lady. A fun book written in the Glaswegian dialect, once you get your inner-ear attuned to the syntax its neat and "nah a chore"! But be careful you may start to speak like that if you are not careful!! It becomes a serious tale once past the hilarious first few chapters. Nicely constructed in the chapter narratives from each perspective. My only criticism is Jimmy's perspective is ignored during the crucial middle chapters and we don’t get to see ...more
Geetly
This book is written in Glaswegian dialect. I have never read anything like this before so it made for a very interesting conversational read. The story is crisp as well. An insight into Scottish, Buddhist as well as a 'wee' bit of Indian culture. I do wish the ending was not as predictable. A remarkable novel nevertheless.
Hayes
May 21, 2009 Hayes rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hayes by: Nell-lu
4.5 Stars

A gentle story, written in Glasgow dialect. Jimmy, a regular guy, decides to become a Buddhist and each member of the family has to deal with the change. It comes apart a little at the end, and earned 4 1/2 stars.

Best quote so far:
(Jimmy's wife, 12-year-old daughter (Anne Marie) and mother-in-law are doing a jigsaw puzzle together)

'... By the way, where's Jimmy?'
'In the bedroom,' ah said.
'Meditatin,' said Anne Marie.
'He done it last night.' ...
'He does it every night, Gran.'
'Every ni
...more
Vicki Jarrett
It's been a while since I read a novel written in dialect but found Donovan's rendering of Glaswegian very easy to start 'hearing' and to read as easily as standard English. There are three voices - Jimmy, a painter and decorator, his wife, Liz, and their daughter Anne-Marie. The story revolves around the upheaval to their family life precipitated by Jimmy's conversion to Buddhism. Although Jimmy is at the centre of the story, I felt closest to the female narrators. To me, Jimmy remained kind of ...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
More about Anne Donovan...
Being Emily Hieroglyphics and Other Stories Gone are the Leaves Sleepers Daddy Am I So Fine

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