Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roland Merullo

Roland Merullo is the author of the Revere Beach trilogy, A Little Love Story, Golfing with God, and Breakfast with Buddha.

His new novel is Vatican Waltz.

Late last month I asked the author about what he was reading. Merullo's reply:
I used to read a lot of fiction, but these days I read only a few novels a year and I’ve been trying to figure out why. It’s especially strange because I write novels—mostly—and because I love the novel form. Maybe it’s that I feel like, after 15 published books, I know the tricks, and if I get even the smallest sense that the author is showing his or her hand, drifting away from full sincerity, then the book loses its reality for me, what John Gardner referred to as “the unbroken dream.” I want a novel that speaks to what I think of as “the big questions”: what are we doing here? What is the point of this complex drama in the middle of which we find ourselves?

Instead of novels, I find myself reading a lot of psychology and religion—though more the broad-minded mystics than the narrow-minded, rules-bound religious material. I loved Thomas Keating’s Intimacy with God. I like to re-read Sogyal Rinpoche’s The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. I think Primal Wound by Ann Gila and John Firman is an absolutely brilliant study of the roots of addiction and self-hatred.

Novels I have read—and loved—recently were Hotel du Lac by Anita Brookner, and two books by good friends of mine—Craig Nova’s All the Dead Yale Men, and Sterling Watson’s The Calling. They all have a certain psychological/spiritual depth to them, and that’s what matters to me now, though that can come from books that never directly address matters spiritual. I felt that in The World at Night, Alan Furst’s fine novel. I want books that dig hard into the mystery of being. That, to me, is what the novel is supposed to do, and when I find a great book that does that, well, there’s no feeling like it.
Visit Roland Merullo's website.

--Marshal Zeringue