I Love Lord Buddha

I Love Lord Buddha is the debut novel of Hillary Raphael, a quasi-fictional work with the author as a woman who stands at the end of her twenties with one foot in Tokyo and the other in New York. Raphael writes about the neo-Geisha organization, her “sex-and-death cult with an anti-consumerist, pro-hedonist, sub-Buddhist ideology,” which she could easily be the poster girl for, and the story explores the intersection between Buddhist thought and sexual/social anarchy. Although at times the novel aims for profundity and ends up embracing the absurd, it is an interesting literary experiment. As the press release states, “the novel occurs in a language without capitalization.” Indeed, the language is at times effusive with poetry: “the sky, that day, ached blue. i would be starving if i were human.” The first-person narrative, interspersed with passages in haiku, draws the reader into an oddly compelling story, even though the ending is told in the first line: “this story has, as its protagonist, a dead girl.” Even if you skip the novel, check out Raphael’s Web site (www.neogeisha.org), where you can find her handcrafted panties made from antique ceremonial kimonos.