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Sex is forbidden at the Dasgupta Institute, the Buddhist retreat where Beth Marriot has taken refuge. Beth has been working as a server in the kitchen, assisting the clients while also practicing meditation to calm her demons. Like the clients who pay to be there, the servers must observe the rules, and silence and separation of the sexes are chief among them.
But Beth is at a crossroads in her life. She came here torn between two lovers, estranged from her parents, and overwhelmed with guilt at possibly having caused a man's death. Conflicted and wandering, she finds a forbidden diary in the men's dorm and cannot keep away from it--or the man who wrote it. At the same time, desiring to achieve the inner peace that Buddhist practice promises, she yearns to follow the example set by the slim, silent, white-clad teacher Mi Nu--and may be yearning for something more. Funny and poignant, swiftly paced and completely engaging, Sex Is Forbidden is an entertaining novel about two profoundly different attitudes to life, and Beth is a character to be savored.
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About the Author
Tim Parks is the author of more than twenty novels and works of nonfiction. His novels include Europa, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. His most recent work of nonfiction is "Italian Ways: On and Off the Rails from Milan to Palermo." His essays have appeared regularly in "The New Yorker" and "The New York Review of Books," for which he blogs. He lives in Italy.