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The Monk Downstairs: A Novel

About the Book

The Monk Downstairs: A Novel

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’ve got a mortgage. I’m making my middle-aged peace with network television and tomorrow is just another day I’ve got to get through. I don’t need the violin music." But when the new tenant in her in-law apartment turns out to be Michael Christopher, a warm, funny, sneakily attractive man 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 six-year-old daughter, Mary Martha, is unambiguously 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 Bolinas. Even Rebecca’s best friend, Bonnie, once a confirmed cynic in matters of the heart, seems to have lost her sensible imperviousness to romance, and urges Rebecca on. But none of them, Rebecca feels, understand how complicated and dangerous love actually is.

As her unlikely friendship with the ex-monk downstairs grows by fits and starts toward something deeper, and Christopher 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 her mother suffers an unanticipated crisis and Rebecca 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. At once a romantic comedy and a tale of spiritual renewal, The Monk Downstairs is a love story in every sense of the word, a tender exploration of the unforeseeable ways in which individual journeys interweave, and of the ways we are changed by the opening of the heart.

The Monk Downstairs: A Novel
by Tim Farrington

  • Publication Date: July 9, 2002
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne
  • ISBN-10: 0062517856
  • ISBN-13: 9780062517852