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Like Herman Hesse before her, Ellen Frankel has joined the ranks of authors inspired to fictionalize Siddhartha Gautama’s journey from prince to preceptor—only Frankel’s Siddhartha, whose spiritual quest is chronicled in Frankel’s new book Syd Arthur, is a middle-aged Jewish woman who owns a Range Rover. Although a self-described “long-time shopper, dieter, and organizer of domestic bliss,” Syd Arthur is serious about practice. We might not all have Range Rovers, but we can all relate to Syd Arthur’s shaky foothold in the often-hilarious pull between cultivating renunciation for samsara while actively participating in it. Or as Frankel addresses her readers on Syd Arthur’s dedication page: “May your spiritual search bring answers to the age-old questions—‘Where do you find your bliss?’ ‘How do you attain enlightenment?’ and ‘What’s for dinner?’”
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