Lunch with Buddha


"In this engaging follow-up novel, Merullo takes readers on a spiritual road trip through the American West. . . . In Otto Ringling, Merullo offers a hero that’s a bit jaded but loving; a little lost but searching. One can’t help but root for Otto, despite — or perhaps because of — his curmudgeonly tendencies, and hope that he finds  the inner peace that, even if he doesn’t quite know it, he desperately seeks. . . . a beautifully written and compelling story about a man’s search for meaning that earnestly and accessibly tackles some well-trodden but universal questions.
. . . A quiet meditation on life, death, darkness and spirituality, sprinkled with humor, tenderness and stunning landscapes."
- Kirkus Starred Review













"alternately hilarious and poignant . . . Merullo's detailed descriptions of the American Northwest keep the writing grounded even as its themes turn increasingly spiritual.  Merullo doesn't try too hard to prove any spiritual points, however.  As a result, Lunch is a moving yet entertaining and never histrionic account of how an ordinary American family - with a few extraordinary members in its ranks - deals with the overwhelming grief of losing one of their own." 
- Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

"Merullo is a thoughtful guy and Lunch with Buddha examines questions that crop up sooner or later for many (most?) of us. ...Although Volya’s wise lectures, and coaching in meditation techniques, are helpful to Otto’s search for answers, it is the variety of people they meet – and the attitudes that those individuals carry – that are what provide Otto with the evidence and reminders and motivation to decide to live a certain way....Reading Merullo’s novel, I couldn’t help but think of the themes of Emerson, Thoreau, and Whitman–their great reverence for independent, passionate, non-conformist thought–the different drummer–but never without the accompanying respect for it in others."
- The Salem News

"As we move through life, we search for the little explanations of life and living and making it all come together for us. Lunch with Buddha  is a spiritual novel from Roland Merullo that tells the story of Otto Ringling, a man trying to understand the many lessons of his teacher Volya Rinpoche and the constantly shifting view of his complicated life. Lunch with Buddha will ring true with many readers. Highly recommended."
-Midwest Book Review


 Click here to download a sample chapter of Lunch with Buddha

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Comments by Other Reviewers

"Lunch with Buddha is a delicious and divine novel, and although it stands alone quite well, I cannot wait to also read Breakfast with Buddha".

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"There is humor and sorrow, joy and fear, laughter and introspection . . .“Lunch” is a story of how we connect with family and beyond. . . .I look forward to having dinner with this engaging cast of characters."

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"This is a story about how love shapes our lives. You don’t have to be a middle-aged father of two, a bereaved spouse, or even a spiritual person to appreciate the magic that Roland Merullo weaves in Lunch with Buddha. His is a novel that transcends the cultural, linguistic, and religious divides that often complicate our lives and leave us pondering its great mysteries. Merullo has written a story that tugs at the heartstrings..."

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"Lunch With Buddha is lyrical, thought-provoking, exquisite. I knew I was in for a treat from the first page, basking in the rich language, and Merullo’s novel is truly a joy for the senses."

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Roland Merullo is an elegant, understated writer who dares to approach spirituality - an unusual topic in American fiction...When I finished reading Lunch with Buddha I found myself thinking of the characters as real people, even worrying about them a bit, and hoping I would be able to meet them again soon. Highly recommended for seekers and skeptics alike."

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"At it’s heart, Lunch with Buddha is about possibility and hope, exquisite characterization and vivid prose, especially when describing grief...I do recommend this to book clubs — so much to discuss!  And there is no need to first read Breakfast with Buddha.  I believe this second novel will lend itself to discussion even more easily and needs no preamble.

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"I enjoyed most how comfortable the writing was, even the book itself just felt peaceful. It’s almost like a warm second skin to slip into during a storm."


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Roland Merullo is the author of 17 books - including 12 works of fiction

For additional info please visit:


Link to Roland Merullo monthly newsletter for November 2013

 A Message from Roland...

Lunch with Buddha has the same main characters as Breakfast with Buddha (Rinpoche, Otto, Cecelia, Otto’s family) and is, like its predecessor, a road trip book.   This time, though, the trip is from Seattle, Washington to Dickenson, North Dakota, a route that takes the travelers through Washington State, across the Idaho Panhandle, across the breadth of Montana, and into parts of North Dakota not visited in Breakfast.

There is humor and philosophical / spiritual ideas, just as in the first book, but I have worked hard not to make this simply a carbon-copy with a little different map.  Otto is facing a central problem that is very different from his challenges in Breakfast with Buddha.  Rinpoche, of course, is of tremendous help to him, though in amusing, unpredictable, and sometimes baffling ways.

It was a joy to take the road trip and see a part of America I have never seen, and it’s been a pleasure re-immersing myself in the lives of these people, and stretching my own world-view as I ponder theirs.  I hope you enjoy Lunch with Buddha; my thanks to the hardworking people at AJAR and to all the many people and book groups who read Breakfast with Buddha. 

Good Reading,


Available for Sale:

* Paperback
* Standard Hardcover
* eBook


* Special Signed & Numbered Limited Edition Version
(print run of 350)

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