From Publishers Weekly
Written with a simplicity that mirrors the development of the plot, this well-crafted second novel demonstrates Scribner's (The Good Life) solid, noirish accessibility and talent for detailed characterizations. John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quinn, known to friends and co-workers by his last name, is in his mid-30s and working as a real estate salesman for the Catholic Church in upstate Hudson City, N.Y., as the city lurches out of decades of stasis. A live-in romance with the increasingly distant Rita competes with a variety of business deals that threaten to leave him in a professional and personal quagmire. When the mysterious Sue Phong, the titular miracle girl, gains media attention for an assortment of healing phenomena for which she may or may not be responsible, the Church is pressured either to label the incidents as works of God or to dismiss them as an elaborate sham. The city is in an uproar, and Quinn unexpectedly finds himself having to take a stand. As he gets closer to Sue and to an understanding of what makes her tick, he is forced to question the genuineness of his own life and abandons caution to find the answers before he, along with everyone else desperate to be touched by the "miracle" girl, loses something irreplaceable. While telling details sum up characters swiftly and decisively, some of the dialogue (particularly among minor characters) shades into boilerplate. This contemplative foray into the beliefs and decisions that shape the lives of individuals and communities is funny, gritty and tender, but Scribner doesn't quite fit all of Quinn's feelings into his words and actions.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
When an apparent miracle rocks economically depressed Hudson City, NewYork, John Quinn--whose work for the Roman Catholic diocese has shifted from the space management he loves to property sales--is initially involved just in finding space for the pilgrims pouring into town. They come to see the miracle girl, 30-year-old Sue Phong, the deaf orphaned daughter of a Vietnamese woman and African American soldier, who appeared in the dream of a deaf man whose hearing was suddenly restored. As reports of cures increase, Quinn's life comes crashing down around him: he's betrayed both by his real estate broker buddy (who's reporting Quinn to the IRS) and by the woman he loves (who's carrying on an e-mail relationship with another man). Finally, Quinn's own capacity for betrayal is tested by the miracle girl herself. Scribner has created wonderfully human characters with whom he explores the issues of faith, trust, and possibility with exceptional skill and sensitivity. A departure from his debut novel, The GoodLife
(1999), this should be just as warmly received. Michele LeberCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved