Jake is a Zen master and expert bicycle repairman who fixes flats and teaches meditation out of a shop in Bar Harbor, Maine. Hank is his long-time student. The aging Jake hopes that Hank will take over teaching for him. But the commitment-phobic Hank doesn’t feel up to the job, and Jake is beginning to exhibit behavior that looks suspiciously like Alzheimer’s disease. Is a guy with as many “issues” as Hank even capable of being a Zen teacher? And are those paradoxical things Jake keeps doing some kind of koan-like wisdom . . . or just dementia?
These and other hard questions confront Hank, Jake, and the colorful cast of characters they meet during a week-long trip to the funky neighborhood of Central Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. As they trek back and forth from bar to restaurant to YMCA to Zen Center to doughnut shop, answers arise—in the usual unexpected ways.
Click here to listen to the author, David Guy, discuss Jake Fades on North Carolina Public Radio.
"Longtime Buddhist practitioner Guy explores the Zen zone in this low-key tale of meditation, mentoring, and mouth-watering baked goods."—Booklist
"The Buddhist lessons of impermanence and letting go are folded into a contemporary urban story of drifters and their teachers in this sweet novel. . . . The conversational first-person narration draws the reader in, as does the eminently likable Jake."—Kirkus Reviews
"Guy conveys through Hank's koanlike interior commentary and Jake's dialogue, the subtleties of Zen practice. Readers into the dharma will find this novel worthwhile."—Publishers Weekly
"In the frolicsome, playful novel about Zen Buddhism, death, and sexuality, [Guy] beautifully conveys the impermanence of life. . . . Jake Fades gives sex and death the respect they deserve."—Spirituality & Practice
"Jake Fades is a book written with an uncommon clarity: a story by a real storyteller. Like all good books, it's about many things: Buddhism—sure, that's there—but it's also about the families we're born into and the families we make for ourselves. Sit. Read."—Daniel Wallace, author of Big Fish and The Watermelon King
"A wonderfully entertaining and admirably down-to-earth story about Zen, beer, sex, and real people in real life—not the make-believe Zen of your dreams."—David Chadwick, author of Crooked Cucumber and Thank You and OK!