The Buddha, Geoff and Me by Edward Canfor-Dumas is a warm and engaging contemporary novel set in England. It tells the story of Ed, a regular guy who is struggling in almost every area of his life, but primarily in his work and relationships. And then, purely by chance, he meets Geoff…
Geoff is a Buddhist who isn’t anything like Ed thinks a Buddhist should be. He swears, smokes, enjoys a pint at his local pub and he even has the occasional meat pie, but there is something else about him that Ed finds fascinating. An unlikely friendship grows out of their chance meeting, with Geoff giving Ed advice on how to improve his life and Ed stubbornly resisting almost all of it, especially the ‘Buddhist stuff’.
The Buddha, Geoff and Me is one of the few works of Buddhist fiction that focuses on Nichiren Buddhism, and it would be well worth reading for that reason alone. If you have any interest in the Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin then this book provides a good introduction, with Geoff explaining the main principles as Ed struggles to sort his life out.
Of course, this is a book that is primarily written to entertain, so you don’t need to have any particular interest in Buddhism to enjoy it. The story of Ed resisting ‘becoming religious’ at every turn and Geoff patiently continuing to support his new friend as best he can throws up some extremely funny exchanges. Even better, this novel cleverly draws you in to the point where you realise – when the plot twists and turns in the later sections – that you are far more involved than you might have thought.
We really can’t discuss much more about the plot without giving things away, so we’ll sum things up by saying that this is a hugely entertaining novel that will have you laughing all the way through and is sure to leave you feeling inspired.