For the majority of Americans a background in some sort of religion is a given, whether they have chosen to embrace, redefine, or completely reject the teachings of childhood. In this highly evocative work, Peter Manseau and Jeff Sharlet manage to do all three.
Having both been given traditional religious upbringings, the authors began to question every corner of their faiths as they came of age. Their mutual curiosity eventually led to the launch of a literary magazine (awarded Utne Reader's prestigious Independent Press Award for 2002), and ultimately inspired them to go on a search for the spiritual across America. As they made their way across the country, they became increasingly dissatisfied with the traditional Bible's relevance in the modern world. They instead have turned to some of our most provocative writers to recast many of the good books: Rick Moody recasts Jonah as a modern day gay Jewish man living with his parents in Queens, to A.L. Kennedy meditating on the absurdity of Genesis while never shaking her own faith, and Randall Kenan's breathtaking new Gospels, to name a few. What emerges from this work of calling is not an attack on religion, but a look at it from the inside — a timely attempt to push the limits of faith in order to see what lies beyond.
"As disjointed and freakish as this biblical sequel sounds, the editors manage to pull off a most impressive work. This is some of the most original and insightful spiritual writing to come out of America since Jack Kerouac first hit the road." Publishers Weekly "Range[s] from the densely poetic to the whimsically academic and the truly hilarious." Montreal Gazette "[Q]uirky, far-ranging... With a format as complex as many people's relationship with God, it shouldn't work, but it does - a literary leap of faith." Elle "The tone is both grave and exhilarating. So is the effect.... Killing the Buddha is a genuine stab at a saucy kind of spirituality that?s as bold as it is refreshing." New York Observer "Killing the Buddha proves that fear and trembling are only human but a sense of humor is divine." O, The Oprah Magazine