When the Virgin Mary turns up wearing a navy blue trench coat and pair of white running shoes in the living room of Diane Schoemperlen's anonymous narrator in Our Lady of the Lost and Found
, her host is hardly surprised. After all, there were signs. Her week has been filled with good fortune, which in hindsight now looks divine. Thursday, for instance, a day when recalcitrant toasters, clocks, and answering machines suddenly begin working again, "turned out to be what I now think of as The Day of Mechanical Miracles."
And so the Governor General's Award-winning author of Forms of Devotion and In the Language of Love launches into her tale of how the Mother of God invites herself to the tidy small-town home of a 40-ish Canadian writer. During a week or two of R&R, Mary spends her time washing dishes, making waffles, and shopping incognito at the mall. Not surprisingly, her presence inspires the narrator to do a little soul-searching in the form of a highly academic quest into the nature of truth and history and a study of historic Marian apparitions. One big question that isn't asked is about the nature of faith. The anonymous and not particularly devout narrator never doubts. The result--credulous accounts of Mary's most famous earthly appearances, from Guadalupe through Lourdes--cramps Schoemperlen's glib narrative flow, but as a device to shock readers out of complacent expectations (even cynical consumers of postmodern irony can get soft when it's spoon-fed), it's brilliant. --Deirdre Hanna
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary have numbered in the millions over the 2,000 or so years since she gave birth to Jesus Christ. This book, which the author assures us is fiction, purports to describe one such sighting. Without plot, climax or resolution, it is not a standard novel. Rather, it consists of reflections and soul-searching by the nameless narrator, examples of the Marian phenomenon throughout the ages and considerable theorizing about Werner Heisenberg's uncertainty principle as it applies to historical facts. The narrator (whose life seems identical to Schoemperlen's) assures readers that she is in no way an extraordinary person, yet on a Monday in April, a woman in a blue trench coat and Nikes suddenly appears in her living room, calling herself "Mary, Mother of God" and asking if she can stay for a week to rest up before the demanding month of May, long ago dedicated to her. On the surface, the week is uneventful; the two women talk, shop, cook and exchange confidences. Mary tells of miracles throughout the ages, and the narrator realizes how much she has learned and changed over the years, particularly in coming to terms with being a single woman. None of this is dry material; in fact, it is briskly paced and engaging. Canadian writer Schoemperlen, whose previous novel, In the Language of Love, was highly praised, and whose short story collection, Forms of Devotion, won Canada's Governor General's Award, is a thoughtful and intelligent writer. Readers who enjoy unconventional fiction will find food for thought here. Agent, Bella Pomer. 6-city author tour. (May)Forecast: The eternal popularity of Mary may sell a few copies of this novel, particularly if it is displayed with other spiritual titles, but true Marianites will likely prefer nonfiction accounts of her miraculous appearances.
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