“Peter Gelfan’s Monkey Temple is a rollicking journey down a winding road to a dubious paradise. I took a lot of pleasure in it. So familiar, the riffs and issues and experiences and characters—talkin’ ’bout my generation—and I reveled in so many of the choices the author made in rendering them. Rich in insight and humor, it is, in the end, a story about stories themselves.”
—Tony Cohan, bestselling author of On Mexican Time
After sharing, often at odds, many adventures across several continents in the 1960s, Jules and Ralston diverged onto the two archetypal paths of the era: Jules into spiritual pursuits and Ralston into activism. Now, old age pushes them to team up again. Ralston, his usual swagger fraying, seems to be spiraling into self-destruction. Jules, who failed at finding nirvana or New Age enlightenment and now works as a book editor, feels duty-bound to help his old pal. Jules and his wife Ritz (whom Rals has always had his eye on) need a place to retire.
Jules devises a ploy to take Ralston on a road trip ostensibly to find a new home but really to rekindle his will to live. The plan works a little too well, and Rals twists their house-hunting mission into a desperate attempt to make good on his failed goals. While trying to keep Ralston on a leash, Jules realizes that he, too, is making a last-ditch run at his own abandoned ideals.
Following the footsteps of all of Ralston’s schemes, initial triumph inevitably turns to disaster—crime, betrayal, battles against the elements—and the ordeal will transform them forever.