by Blair Hurley
Pub Date 07 Aug 2018
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A spellbinding confession of what it means to abandon one life for another.
“She comes early, wet with rain, and confronts him in the back hall of the Zendo. ‘I need to know some things,’ she says. ‘You better come in,’ he says, and holds open the door. . . .”
Nicole Hennessy’s life revolves around her Zen practice at the Boston Zendo, seeking spiritual solace in the tenets of Buddhism. After a decade of grueling spiritual practice under her master’s tutelage, living on a shoestring as a shop clerk, Nicole has become sexually and emotionally entangled with her mentor. To break free, she must retrace her entire life’s journey—from her strict Irish Catholic upbringing to her drug-fueled year as a teenage runaway. Even as she reinvents herself in New York City, her master’s intoxicating voice pursues her, whispering dangerously in her ear. Somehow, he knows everything.
A hypnotic and daring debut, The Devoted asks what it takes, and what you’ll sacrifice, to find enlightenment.
About the Author: Blair Hurley is a Pushcart Prize winner whose work has appeared in West Branch and Mid-American Review, among other publications.
A Note From the Publisher
LibraryReads nominations due by 6/20 and IndieNext nominations due by 6/4.
“Blair Hurley is a gorgeous writer. This novel brims with startling and organic metaphors that fuel, like Zen koans, the heart of a remarkable story. Unlike the Boston films of late, The Devoted gets the accents right.” - Anita Shreve
“In Blair Hurley’s beautifully written first novel, a young woman charts a spiritual journey into the rigors of Zen Buddhism in a Boston storefront Zendo, under the guidance of a charismatic Master who soon becomes her lover. The relationship between Master and student is candidly charted and wholly convincing. The intellectual austerity of Zen Buddhism is presented with all the clarity of Zen itself, a fascinating subject. . . . A suspenseful and warmly engaging coming-of-age story.” - Joyce Carol Oates
“Blair Hurley’s first novel is a sharp-eyed account of the psychological and sexual hold a spiritual 'master' can get on a lost young woman. What could have seemed like a fable in other hands, in Hurley’s is mordant and convincing. A spectacular debut!” - Edmund White
“Blair Hurley's The Devoted is a thrilling, deep, fun, intense look at sex and faith, at East and West, and fraud and truth, at love and what it means to lose love. A remarkable debut, and more: a great read.” - Darin Strauss