|Our Lady of the Lost and Found : A Novel
by Diane Schoemperlen
Note from Lisa:
Every month I try to select books for our
Book Club which will promote Catholic topics and authors. This
month, we depart from the norm by selecting the work of Diane Schoemperlen,
who is while obviously a spiritual person, not a Catholic. I wanted
to share this book with each of you because of the themes it offers:
devotion and spirituality, faith and belief. Let me reiterate, as
the author does on the first page of her book, that "This is a work
of fiction." I do not offer it as a factual, evidence-based
examination of Mary, but as a thought provoking work which will add to
your devotion to Our Lady. I hope that you will enjoy
Our Lady of the Lost and Found and
look forward to discussing it with you.
One Monday morning in April, a middle-aged writer walks into her living
room to water the plants and finds a woman standing beside her potted fig
tree. Dressed in a navy blue trench coat and white Nikes, the woman
introduces herself as "Mary. Mother of God. . . . You know. Mary." Instead
of a golden robe or a crown, she arrives bearing a practical wheeled
suitcase. Weary after two thousand years of adoration and petition, Mary
is looking for a little R & R. She's asked in for lunch, and decides to
stay a week. As the story of their visit unfolds, so does the story of
Mary-one of the most complex and powerful female figures of our time-and
her changing image in culture, art, history, as well as the thousands of
recorded sightings that have placed her everywhere from a privet hedge to
the dented bumper of a Camaro. As this Everywoman and Mary become
friends, their conversations, both profound and intimate, touch upon
Mary's significance and enduring relevance. Told with humor and grace, Our
Lady of the Lost and Found : A Novel is an absorbing tour through Mary's
history and a thoughtful meditation on spirituality, our need for faith
|A personal note to Catholic Mom participants from author Diane
I am very pleased that my novel has been chosen
for your book club. I didn't know very much about Mary when I began
to write this novel. The more I learned about her, the more I loved her.
When I first started writing the book, I had the idea that it would be a
simple story of a woman who is paid a visit by the Virgin Mary. But I soon
realized that I couldn't ignore the fact that, according to several
reliable sources, Mary has made more than 20,000 appearances in the last
2,000 years. She has been seen on every continent except Antarctica. She
has appeared to people of all ages, races, classes, and occupations, to
the educated and the illiterate, to believers and nonbelievers alike. I
realized that I could not write this book without finding ways to work in
some of this historical material. I also found I couldn't write the book
without also confronting some of the big questions it inevitably raises:
questions of faith, doubt, evil, truth, and the process of writing itself.
Sometimes I think of this as a funny book with lots of serious parts.
Other times I think of it as a very serious book with lots of funny parts.
I hope that you will find pleasure and food for thought in both these
aspects. Many people have written to tell me that they have found the book
meaningful to them in profound and personal ways. I hope that you will
also find it meaningful, especially in these difficult times.
To learn more about Diane Schoemperlen, you may want
to visit the web site of her publishers. In Canada Diane is
published by HarperCollins and their address is http://www.harpercanada.com.
In the US Diane is published by Viking Penguin and their address is http://www.penguinputnam.com.
Canadian author Diane Schoemperlen has published several
short stories and two novels. Her first novel,In the Language of Love : A Novel in 100 Chapters, received critical acclaim in both Canada and the
United States. Her most recent collection of short fiction, Forms of Devotion: Stories and Pictures, was published in 1998 and won the
Governor-General's Award for English Fiction, Canada's most prestigious
Her stories have appeared in many magazines and
anthologies including MS. MAGAZINE, STORY, and THE BEST AMERICAN SHORT
STORIES 1998. In addition to Canada and the United States, her work has
been published in translation in Germany, Sweden, Spain, Korea, and
France. Michael Ondaatje, author of THE ENGLISH PATIENT, has said:
"Diane Schoemperlen is, for my money, the most exciting younger
writer in Canada today."