2000 - 2007 Orange Prize

Buddha Da – Anne Donovan

 Short Listed for the 2003 Orange Prize

Buddha Da is a lovely story about a working-class Glaswegian man who decides to convert to Buddhism. The book follows his every day life as he begins be appreciate the benefits of simple living and meditation. His family don’t understand his desire for a more meaningful life and this causes them to drift apart.

The book is written entirely in dialect and I have a feeling that those unfamiliar with the Scottish way of pronouncing things may struggle with this book. Here is the first paragraph so you can see how you’d get on:

Ma Da’s a nutter. Radio rental. He’d dae anythin for a laugh so he wid; went doon the shops wi a perra knickers on his heid, tellt the wifie next door we’d won the lottery and were flittin tae Barbados, but that wis daft stuff compared tae whit he’s went and done noo. He’s turnt intae a Buddhist.

For those who are struggling: Radio rental is rhyming slag for mental, meaning mad.

It took me a little bit of time to get used to the dialect but after a few pages I started to love it and thought it really added to the atmosphere.

The plot was quite gentle, but there were thought provoking discussions about how to give more meaning to your life and the problem of balancing this with your relationships.

Overall it was a light, entertaining read that I’d recommend to someone looking for something a bit different.


Did you understand the first paragraph of the book?

Have you read Buddha Da?

Have you read any other books written by Anne Donovan?