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Reviews of Practicing Zen Without a License

One of the best things about this wonderful book is that if you come upon a place where the language, references, or philosophy are too dense or uninteresting, you can just skip ahead a few pages and it's all exciting again. Although one needs to have read all Butler's novels to get the fullest enjoyment from this volume, that's not necessary to appreciate the essence here: incisive and sometimes silly humor, biting satire, philosophical exactness with a sometimes tongue-in-cheek interpretation, and glorious human yearning for love and understanding. "Southern Baptist Zen" and "Christians and Christianoids" are fine, moving, and funny essays. If you like Vonnegut and even Tom Robbins you should enjoy this book. - L. E Johnson (Raleigh, NC), author of Veins,

Practicing Zen Without a License is the funniest book I've read in a long time. And one of the wisest. I remember my astonishment and glee the first time I read Kurt Vonnegut. I had the same reaction to this book.
Jack Butler's skill as a poet, a novelist, a philosopher shines through in this jam-packed little book. He writes about Zen, history and organized religion, presenting it all as an anthology on Zen written sometime in the future and edited and compiled from the works of many fictitious characters including such eccentric gurus as OB Wanda (Roshi), J.B. Nightwood, Wuan Shaboom Chu Chu, Phil the Philosophical and the No Poet.
Practically every name and title is a pun or carries references, only some of which readers of Butler's earlier works (Living Little Rock with Miss Little Rock, Nightshade, Jujitsu for Christ and other works) will recognize.
Buried within all the puns and jokes is a wealth of intelligent if bitterly sarcastic commentary on contemporary life, politics, sex and religion. Also buried within is an extended essay called "Southern Baptist Zen "which is an honest and fascinating biography of the author who grew up the son of a Southern Baptist preacher in Mississippi and Arkansas and was himself a preacher for a short time in his youth.- Alec Clayton (olympia, wa),
This novel will make you laugh, once you figure out that it's set in the future and has no possible relevance to life as we know it and live it now. Good luck with that. - S.R. Hill,
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