The First Noble Truth refers to core teachings of Buddhism, life is suffering, or in the words of a monk in this novel: life is full of discontent. Machiko Yamamoto has a obsessive-compulsive disorder. She constantly is pulling out all of her hair, picking her skin. Though medical asisstance and temporary successes to refrain from that addiction, she’s major fall backs. It hinders her work as English teacher. The other protagonist in the book is Krista Black, who happened to have a mangled hand. After travels from Africa she ends up in a neighbouring cottage. A deep friendship with Machiko is developing, seeking answers to existential questions. Cultures, religions and languages clash and interrelate. Thin lines between suffer and happiness, whether it’s about keeping a job, sexuality, cruelty and openness for religion are carefully crafted into the story. Fatalism, inescapeable karma, and an deep conviction of the absence of divine intervention leave little room for forgiveness after failures.
Though it took a while to get into the story, the remaining two-thirds or so kept me engaged until the very end.
About the author
Christine Lynn Murhpy was born in New Hampshire, but has since lived in Scotland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, England, Nepal, India, and Mongolia. She also spent a year backpacking across the African continent for kicks. She is a doctoral candidate in Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, as well as a graduate of St Andrews University (M.A.) and Oxford University (MPhil). Whilst a resident at a Tibetan Buddhist nunnery in the Himalayas, she wrote her first book, The First Noble Truth. She currently lives between Mongolia and the UK, where she is conducting fieldwork on post-Soviet economies of the funeral industry and their impact on contemporary Mongolian cultural and religious identity. She writes, she knits, she eats mutton.
The author personally approach me requesting to read and review her novel, without any obligations.