Our Lady of the Forest

  • by David Guterson
  • Narrated by Blair Brown
  • 12 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Ann Holmes seems an unlikely candidate for revelation. A sixteen-year-old runaway, she is an itinerant mushroom picker who lives in a tent. But on a November afternoon, in the foggy woods of North Fork, Washington, the Virgin Mary comes to her, clear as day. Father Collins, a young priest new to North Fork, finds Ann disturbingly alluring. But it is up to him to evaluate the veracity of Ann's sightings: Are they delusions, or a true calling to God? As word spreads and thousands, including the press, converge upon the town, Carolyn Greer, a smart-talking fellow mushroomer, becomes Ann's disciple of sorts, as well as her impromptu publicity manager. And Tom Cross, an embittered logger who's been out of work since his son was paralyzed in a terrible accident, finds in Ann's visions a last chance for redemption for both himself and his son.As Father Collins searches his own soul and Ann's, as Carolyn struggles with her less than admirable intentions, as Tom alternates between despair and hope, Our Lady of the Forest tells a suspenseful, often wryly humorous, and deeply involving story of faith at a contemporary crossroads.

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What the Critics Say

"This 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)
"Guterson's third novel is thoughtful, humane, richly detailed, and atmospheric." (Booklist)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Better than Snow

I put off reading this because so many reviewers compared it unfavourably to Snow Falling on Cedars but I felt just the opposite. Guterson has learned something about making his characters more believable and lost none of his exquisite sensitivity for the northwest coast setting. The story is better, too.
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- Mary

No Big Deal

Trying too hard to be hip and current, this book reads like a laundry list of society's woes and laments. This is a good-vs-evil morality tale that spins in drug use, ecoterrorism, spotted owls, and oppression of the working class. The characters are rich but the amount of detail is burdensome. Rather than a character driven story, the author seems determined to show off his talents at overanalysis and strained internal dialog.
Although I am not Christian, I am fascinated by Virgin Mary iconography. While the story includes discussion of Mary in the Catholic faith (I can't comment on the quality of this dialog, though it might be interesting to those who are knowledgeable), the writing itself lacks emotional impact and truth. Overall, an interesting story, but a disappointing delivery.
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- Emilie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 10-10-2003
  • Publisher: Random House Audio