The Laughing Sutra by Mark Salzman.
I liked this book very much--as I have liked several other of Salzman's books. This one is unusual--a fable of sorts. The story of Hsun-Ching and his quest for the scroll containing the one Buddhist sutra that his adopted father, monk Wei-ching, has not read. A sutra that promises immortality. Hsun-ching lives through the Cultural Revolution in China, spending 10 years in a reeducation camp. At age 20, he is reunited with the monk who raised him from babyhood, and determines that he will make the quest journey to America to try to find the scroll his adopted father so wants to read.
Hsun-ching is accompanied by the mysterious Colonel Sun, a man who claims to be more than 2000 years old. Who is he, really? Could it be he IS the Monkey King of Chinese legend?
A fascinating look at China, at love, at loyalty. Hilarious takes on art, SeaWorld, and water slides.
**** out of 5. If you want something different, this one is it.
Next up: Pomfret Towers by Angela Thirkell.