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Finding the Buddha

Finding the Buddha

A dark story of genius, friendship and stand-up comedy. A mysterious man with a Midas touch delights the world but still seeks release from his own personal nightmare.

 Mark Wladika can do just about anything. As a high school sophomore, he demonstrates an uncanny grasp of quantum physics. As a young Marine, he is a master of hand-to-hand combat, capable of taking out men twice his size with a single blow. He is a cosmologist, a philosopher, an observer of the human condition, and-unbeknownst to anyone-a man plagued by sorrow, loss, and deep longing.

One day, Wladika directs his genius to the art of stand-up comedy, and by doing so brings a new sense of hope to lackluster Albuquerque, New Mexico. As his fame grows, comedians, comedy aficionados, and businessmen alike believe that Wladika can transform the city, so much so that it will soon become to comedy what Chicago is to the blues, what New Orleans is to jazz, and what Hollywood is to movies.

Finding the Buddha is told through the voices of six characters whose lives the comic profoundly affects. Each hopes to benefit from the Midas touch of the mysterious genius who rockets toward the top of the comedy world, unaware that he doesn’t care about fame or fortune—he’s on a quest.


Heidi Ridgway

I actually read this book almost a year ago, and am just now getting around to writing a review. Interestingly, I’ve had to do very little re-reading to refresh my memory on plot points and character names, a testament to the stick-to-your-ribsness of this quirky, hard-to-put-down novel/ autobiography/whatever it is. Hence the title of my review. The Albuquerque setting is so vivid it’s almost a character itself, and the six characters who take turns narrating the story are all very distinct and interesting, I would say Helen Denise being the most so.

Tafoya’s world-building is incredible.Photography and stand-up comedy play major roles in the story, and are described so passionately and vividly that I found myself wanting to go out and buy an expensive camera, then audition for a comedy show, despite having no previous inclination towards either hobby (not to mention having debilitating stage fright)

I won’t rehash the description of Mark Wladika or any of the other characters, as that’s been done, but the interactions between the characters and the unexpected twists in their individual lives keep the story moving along at a pace that feels like riding in the bed of a rusty old pickup– fun, bumpy, a little terrifying at times, but ultimately you want to hang on and see where it’s all going. Well-done, Dr. T!

Laurie T

Reviewed in the United States on October 26, 2015

Christopher Martinez

Reviewed in the United States on November 11, 2015

Set in the southwestern U.S., Finding the Buddha is a story about Mark Wladika—ex-marine turned comedic genius—told by his fellow Albuquerque comedians who hope to ride his charisma to fame and fortune. These characters make the night scene come alive as they search for their ticket to the top and react to the tsunami that is Mark Wladika.
Bosco Beat

Reviewed in the United States on September 14, 2015

One person found this helpful
Bernadette Almanzar

Reviewed in the United States on September 10, 2015