A parable for those who prefer spiritual quests to be lightened by whimsy.
Kincaid (A Dog Named Christmas, 2008, etc.), a practicing lawyer, has attracted a popular readership with heartwarming stories and happy endings. This novel finds him extending his approach into the metaphysical realm, exploring some of life’s eternal questions and mysteries, though his breezy style and conversation-heavy narrative doesn’t require a lot of effort on the reader's part. Much of the interplay is as cute as the novel’s title. The aptly named Angel, a Lakota woman who serves as the protagonist’s spiritual guide, explains that the “coconuts” are a panreligious group of like-minded seekers: “Getting to the milky essence of life isn’t that easy, but it’s the whole point. You have to crack the hairy, hard outer shell of the self. A coconut is a metaphor for the spiritual journey.” Her unlikely disciple is Ted Day, a middle-aged lawyer who knows that something is missing from his life but has to be coaxed out of his routine to find it. The two meet on the road by accident (literally) and decide that he will be her first client in her role as “a sort of traveling spiritual consultant” while he tries to help her aunt beat a murder rap. Along the way, they travel to meet a Catholic priest, a Muslim advocate and a Buddhist author, having long conversations with each and with each other, with footnotes pointing the reader to spiritual books referenced and/or recommended. Though the “tantric” of the title refers to nothing sexual, Ted must inevitably confront a crucial dilemma: “Would the pursuit of the lesser goal of romance thwart the greater goal of enlightenment?” The answer will surprise no one, for once Ted has found his Angel, the author isn’t about to have him let her go.
A spiritual guidebook that encompasses a sentimental love story, or vice versa.