“The Man Who Quit Money” by Mark Sundeen is a thought-provoking and respectful account of one man’s search for meaning in a world preoccupied with money and the things it buys.
Twenty years ago, Sundeen and Daniel Suelo worked together as cooks in Moab. They went separate ways. It was not until Becky Saletan at Riverhead Trade Paperback invited Sundeen to write Suelo’s story that the two reconnected.
Although Suelo often lives in Moab’s nearby canyon caves, he is by no means a recluse. Occasionally, he house-sits for friends in Moab; sometimes he travels, to visit family and friends, or to discover new places.
In fact, Suelo accepted an invitation from Sundeen to participate in the current book tour promoting “The Man Who Quit Money.”
Not your typical “hobo” derelict, Suelo has some college education, has traveled widely and studied world religions — all with a minimal amount of money. He worked in the Peace Corps and has held regular jobs.
Raised in a Christian fundamentalist family, early on he rejected religion.
However, the book quotes the now 50-something Suelo saying that he currently believes, “the most effective social movements are those with a spiritual center.” He has returned to his Christian roots on his own terms.
The story is not told linearly, but twists and turns in a literary reflection of Suelo’s singular life path. Sundeen takes several philosophical detours and uses flashbacks as well as interviews with people who know Suelo best to assist the reader in understanding the beliefs and reasoning that led Suelo to his present life.
The book provides a unique way of looking at the Christian idea of “being in the world, but not of the world.” At the very least, it may give the thoughtful reader cause to reflect on how and why materialism, rather than spiritual relationships dominate our society.
Uses of crude language are sprinkled throughout the book, including used in quoted statements. An excommunicated Mormon and a Jack-Mormon are among examples of people who reject organized religion. There are also non-graphic descriptions of Suelo’s gay relationships.
IF YOU GO...
What: Mark Sundeen book signing
When: Wednesday, March 14, 7 p.m.
Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City
When: Monday, March 19
Where: Grand County Public Library, 257 E. Center St., Moab
Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville, Utah. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is www.dramaticdimensions.com.