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Our Lady of the Forestby David Guterson
"Despite the Roman Catholic flavor of Ann's vision, the dimensions of this compelling novel are catholic in the larger sense. Still, the enormous audience that enjoyed Guterson's Snow Falling on Cedars will find this a far more unsettling book. Agnostics will resonate to Guterson's ambivalence, and atheists may feel pricked by his insight into humanity's thirst for transcendence, but the Christian reading groups that embraced the spirituality of, say, Leif Enger's Peace Like a River (2001) will be reluctant to take on a story that contains such disturbing scenes of violence and sexual abuse. This is no Peace Like a River, or any peace at all, really. But it captures a tempest of faith boiling with the desire for communion." Ron Charles, The Christian Science Monitor (read the entire CSM review)
Synopses & Reviews
A sense of place strongly informs David Guterson's work; he has often written about the Pacific Northwest, most notably in Snow Falling on Cedars, and his natural settings help forge the events in his characters' lives. In his newest novel, Our Lady of the Forest, Guterson tackles a different kind of environment: the internal landscape of faith and spirituality. A drug-addicted Washington teenager — an unlikely witness to a miracle — believes she sees the Virgin Mary, initiating a complex and far-reaching tangle of consequences. In clear, thoughtful prose, Guterson illuminates her town and the reactions of its inhabitants, ranging from self-deception to genuine revelation. Ron Charles of the Christian Science Monitor explains, "This is no Peace Like a River, or any peace at all, really. But it captures a tempest of faith boiling with the desire for communion." A portrait of the intersection of grace and desperation, suspicion and a search for meaning, Our Lady of the Forest is an unsettling, unusual exploration of the beliefs that we depend on, sacred or not. Jill, Powells.com
From David Guterson—bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars—comes this emotionally charged, provocative novel about what happens when a fifteen-year-old girl becomes an instrument of divine grace.
Ann Holmes is a fragile, pill-popping teenaged runaway who receives a visitation from the Virgin Mary one morning while picking mushrooms in the woods of North Fork, Washington. In the ensuing days the miracle recurs, and the declining logging town becomes the site of a pilgrimage of the faithful and desperate. As these people flock to Ann—and as Ann herself is drawn more deeply into what is either holiness or madness—Our Lady of the Forest—seamlessly splices the miraculous and the mundane.
"[A] witty fable of faith, greed, purity, and hope....Sharp and incisive without a trace of either cynicism or credulity: a clever take on a familiar fable or redemption." Kirkus Reviews
"[P]anoramic, psychologically dense....[T]his ambitious and satisfying work builds vivid characters and trenchant storytelling into a serious and compassionate look at the moral quandaries of modern life." Publishers Weekly
"This is Guterson's best book." Chicago Sun-Times
"Another virtuoso performance from David Guterson...Gripping...Marks an expansion of his vision...Transporting...Balances on the tension between belief and despair without ever losing its sense of mystery." L.A. Times Book Review
"Blends some of the appeal of Stephen King's uncanny tales... and John Updike's fables... Thoroughly absorbing... Guterson writes virtuoso dialogue." Seattle Weekly
"Magnificent... Reading it, I kept putting [Guterson] in the best possible literary company... I was in a state of elation while I was reading... A marvelous book, in every sense." Jonathan Raban
In a suspenseful and emotionally charged story of faith at a contemporary crossroads, the bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars offers a provocative new novel about a teenage girl who claims to see the Virgin Mary.
About the Author
David Guterson is the author of a collection of short stories, The Country Ahead of Us, the Country Behind; Family Matters: Why Homeschooling Makes Sense; Snow Falling on Cedars, which won the 1995 PEN/Faulkner Award, the Pacific Northwest Bookseller Association Award, and was an international bestseller; and the national bestseller East of the Mountains.
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