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Our Lady of the Lost and Found: A Novel of Mary, Faith, and Friendship Paperback – July 30, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 349 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (July 30, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142001325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142001325
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 5.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #372,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The action is chiefly cerebral in this novel of a firmly anchored everywoman who endures a Marian vision of Guinness-record-breaking length. The narrator, a single, middle-aged, female, non-Catholic writer contentedly living alone, one day comes upon a modern-day version of the Virgin Mary standing in her living room. Seeking a rest cure from her spiritual duties, Mary asks if she might be allowed to stay for a few days. They spend time together and become friends. The writer anecdotally contrasts their daily activities with biographical sketches and miracles relating to Mary documented by the Catholic Church. The number and variety of these alleged wonders are staggering, and this novel serves as an accessible catalog. The result is a highly intelligent and unique discourse on philosophy and the phenomenon of human faith, but as a novel its appeal may be limited to larger public and academic libraries. Margee Smith, Grace A. Dow Memorial Lib., Midland, MI
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

In a very stressful time for me, I felt very at peace reading this book and did not want it to end.
D. McCaf
The protagonist is a terribly boring, solitary person, and in the first 150 pages, the holy houseguest doesn't do anything interesting enough to keep me reading.
This book is an excellent source of understanding the many apparitions of the Virgin Mary from a non-Catholic point of view.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Rochelle Mazar on June 5, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is simply one of the most original and most creative pieces of work I've read in a very long time. I have read reviews that call it plotless and without climax, but I beg to differ. You can debate what a 'plot' is...this book is trying to do many things as once, and I'd say it succeeds in all of its goals. It is an overriding narrative about a visitation; it is a collections of narratives about other visitations (I only found one very minor historical inaccuracy, and Schoemperlen, unlike Timothy Findley in _Pilgrim_, gets Teresa of Avila dead on); in the end it is an examination of our definitions of fact and fiction, and which brings us more 'truth', and what it means to write ourselves a narrative of our lives. And, of course, what Mary means to us.
What is most compelling about this work, aside from the amazing linkages between history and physics and fiction and love and scientific method, are the details. I have never seen a book so full of details, minor and major, from the colour of the walls in each bedroom to the recipe for barley zucchini casserole to the beads of water on Mary's white nikes.They're wonderful details; her narrative comes in the details.
This book is charming, funny, startlingly thoughtful and even, at one point at least, overwhelmingly profound (she got me to cry over my chinese food in a mall food court.) It isn't a standard novel, and at times you won't feel sure that what you're reading is fiction at all (is the narrator really just the author? Is she telling us about her own life? Is this a history book? Is it some form of non-fiction?) But I think it's that variety and that richness that gives this book it's character. I would definitely recommend it, and I've already lent out my copy, and have had requests from others to be next on the list.
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28 of 29 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie Silva on July 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
"Will you be able to resist the temptation to go and write a book about [my visit] afterwards? You must promise me that you will use a pseudonym and you will call it a novel. When that book comes out, I want to see in big letters that disclaimer on the copyright page: This is a work of fiction. If you break this promise, divine wrath will be the least of your problems. Divine wrath will not even be necessary. If people find out that I have been here, that I have talked to you, eaten with you, and slept in your house, they will descend upon you in droves. They will make a plague of locusts look like a minor inconvenience."
If Our Lady of the Lost and Found were adapted for film -- and it should be -- the soundtrack might start with OutKast, continue with Bach's Goldberg Variations and end with Erik Satie.
This is a touching postmodern ("a word which nobody really knows what it means") story of a perfectly happy solitary writer's perfectly natural perfect houseguest: Our tired Blessed Virgin Mary in need of a quiet vacation and quiet human friendship. It is meditative homage to the nonCatholic, neoagnostic author's new unexpected lifelong friend Mary, an elegy to quiet friendship between complex women who have learned to savor the exquisite pleasures of everyday life with clear understated Zen humor and irony. It is both an eclectic global education in Mariology and the tender, moving "novel of Mary, faith and friendship" Diane Schoemperlen found herself setting aside another book to write.
"Pour yourself a cold glass of water on a hot summer day and remember that the vessel was made by fire, Heraclitus' symbol of change. Think about transparent glass taking on the color of whatever is poured into it: green Kool-Aid, brown tea, red blood.
Read more ›
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By "veronikalou" on August 9, 2002
Format: Paperback
Baptized Catholic, raised Lutheran, I left the church behind in my late teens and have considered myself agnostic since early college. Strangely enough though, I've been drawn to the image and idea of the Virgin Mary for as long as I remember. From my mousepad to keychains to the art I create, she's been "appearing" in my life for a long time now. Perhaps it's a feminist attraction for me, rather than religious, her being Jesus' mother, a commanding presence, even if only in the spiritual world, I don't know.
But I do know that I've always tended to view people who see the Virgin's image in inanimate objects as being less than brilliant, as silly religious zealots. Like the narrator, I felt superior to these people, all the while wholeheartedly believing in ghosts, spirits and other supernatural subjects. Why can't I believe that Mary has really appeared? This book has made me look at that, to question why one is more valid to me than the other. Once I was finished reading this book I felt alone and sad, and found myself wishing Mary would visit me, too...
I was drawn in by the title, and the storyline was irresistable. I read this book any moment I could, so enthralled by the way the author interwove history, science and religious fervor, interspersing it with a modern-day first-person "account" of a Marian visitation. The subtle humor throughout kept the story moving along, though I did weep from time to time while reading. This book was so simple and moving, I felt as if the narrator's experience could be true. And Mary, well, she seemed like a long lost friend, someone anyone would be pleased to have as a guest.
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