Roland Merullo Biography
Roland Merullo was born in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1953, and brought up in Revere, MA, a working-class Italian American community five miles from downtown Boston. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH, in 1971, and Brown University in 1975, where he also earned a Master’s in Russian Language and Literature the following year. At various points in his life, he has worked in a parking garage, worked for the United States Information Agency in the former Soviet Union, served in the Peace Corps in Micronesia, worked as a carpenter, and taught creative writing and literature at Bennington and Amherst Colleges.
Merullo is the critically acclaimed author of seven novels, including Leaving Losapas, A Russian Requiem, currently optioned for film rights by John Turturro, Revere Beach Boulevard, finalist for the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Prize, In Revere in Those Days, a Booklist Editors’ Choice, and Golfing With God. His memoir, Revere Beach Elegy, won the 2000 Massachusetts Book Award for Non-Fiction, and his essays have appeared in The New York Times, Outside Magazine, Yankee Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer Sunday Magazine, Boston Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Good Housekeeping, Travel and Leisure Golf, LINKS, GOLF Magazine, Forbes FYI, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His writing has been reviewed in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal Constitution, Washington Post, Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Philadelphia Inquirer, Dallas Morning News, Newsday, and by dozens of other papers, magazines, internet sites and radio and TV stations. Merullo has given hundreds of informal talks and speeches at colleges, conferences, libraries and civic organizations. He currently lives in Massachusetts with his wife and two daughters.
INTERVIEW WITH ROLAND MERULLO
From Publishers Weekly
Merullo, author of the Revere Beach series and Golfing with God, delivers a comic but winningly spiritual road-trip novel. Otto Ringling is a food-book editor and a happily married father of two living in a tony New York suburb. After Otto’s North Dakota parents are killed in a car crash, he plans to drive his ebulliently New Age sister, Cecilia, back home to sell the family farm. But when Otto arrives to pick up Cecilia in Paterson, N.J. (where she does tarot readings and past-life regressions), she declares her intention to give her half of the farm to her guru, Volvo Rinpoche, who will set up a retreat there. Cecilia asks Otto to take Rinpoche to North Dakota instead; after a fit of skeptical rage in which he rails internally against his sister’s gullibility, he accepts, and the novel is off and running. Merullo takes the reader through the small towns and byways of Midwestern America, which look unexpectedly alluring through Rinpoche’s eyes. Well-fed Western secularist Otto is only half-aware that his life might need fixing, and his slow discovery of Rinpoche’s nature, and his own, make for a satisfying read. A set piece of Otto’s chaotic first meditation session is notably hilarious, and the whole book is breezy and affecting.
Veteran novelist Merullo continues the spiritual odyssey he began in Golfing with God (2005). Otto Ringling, a successful New York editor and contented family man, has been in a slump ever since his parents were killed in an automobile accident. To settle the estate, he and his loopy sister, Cecilia, must drive to the family homestead in North Dakota. Then Cecilia tells him she’s giving her half of the farm to her guru, the maroon-robed Volya Rinpoche, and that she wants Otto to drive him there. A grumbling Otto reluctantly agrees, mapping out a route that will take them along some of the Midwest’s most charming backroads, and treating the rotund monk to a taste of American fun, including a tour of the Hershey chocolate factory and a round of miniature golf. Volya proves to be such a jovial and serene companion that Otto soon regains not only his peace of mind but also his joie de vivre. The skillful Merullo, using the lightest of touches, slowly turns this low-key comedy into a moving story of spiritual awakening. ~ Wilkinson, Joanne
“A wonderful, heartfelt novel that frequently surprises as we’re lulled by the sights and sounds of the open road”–Providence Journal (Providence Journal )
“Insightful, amusing, loving…There are lovely moments of enlightenment that are not accompanied by angels with flaming swords; rather, there is that peaceful blue sphere that is available to all of us.”—The Seattle Times (Seattle Times )