Summary and book reviews of Our Lady of The Forest by David Guterson

Our Lady of The Forest

by David Guterson

Our Lady of The Forest
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2003, 336 pages
    Paperback:
    Jul 2004, 336 pages

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Book Summary

A provocative new novel about a teenage girl who claims to see the Virgin Mary, by the bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars.

In a suspenseful and emotionally charged story of faith at a contemporary crossroads, the bestselling author of Snow Falling on Cedars offers a provocative new novel about a teenage girl who claims to see the Virgin Mary.

Chapter I
Annunciation
NOVEMBER 10-NOVEMBER 13, 1999

The girl's errand in the forest that day was to gather chanterelle mushrooms in a bucket to sell in town at dusk. According to her own account and the accounts of others in the North Fork Campground who would later be questioned by the diocesan committee, by Father Collins of Saint Joseph's of North Fork, by the bishop's representative, and by reporters covering the purported apparitions--including tabloid journalists who treated the story like a visitation by Martians or the birth of a two-headed infant--the girl left her camp before eight o'clock and walked alone into the woods. She wore a sweatshirt with its hood drawn tight. She didn't speak to others of her intentions. Setting out with no direction in mind, she crossed a maple bottom and a copse of alders, traversed a creek on a rotten log, then climbed a ridge into deep rain forest and began searching for mushrooms in earnest.

As she went the ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!


The purpose of the discussion topics, questions, and author biography that follow is to enhance your group’s reading of Our Lady of the Forest, a suspenseful and emotionally charged story of faith from the best-selling author of Snow Falling on Cedars.


Reader's Guide
  1. The book’s opening echoes the tone of official reportage, using "the girl" instead of naming Ann Holmes. Elsewhere in the narrative Ann is called "the visionary." Why? Does this create a sense of distance from her? Does the narrative tone of voice, as well as the narrator’s stance, shift throughout the novel? Is the tone of objectivity about the events and characters maintained?

  2. What role do sexuality and sexual desire play in ...
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Reviews

Media Reviews

Kirkus Reviews

Sharp and incisive without a trace of either cynicism or credulity a clever take on a familiar fable of redemption.

Publishers Weekly

Searching for the miraculous in the mundane, this ambitious and satisfying work builds vivid characters and trenchant storytelling into a serious and compassionate look at the moral quandaries of modern life.

Library Journal

Posters, reading group guides, and a 16-city author tour-Guterson is getting what you would surely expect of a highly recommended novel.

Reader Reviews

marian hunter

Our Lady of The Forest is a diamond amongst dross. The writer, David Guterson, a wonderful wordsmith and talented storyteller, with a keen insight into the restless fears in every one of us. I recognised every one of his carefully drawn characters...   Read More

NAVAL LANGA

The narrator has taken pain to depict the life of a ptagonist which comes from the class of the people having colourful dreams in the eyes and the hard realities on the road. Every reader wanyts to be idintified with such charecter in which he/she ...   Read More

boston reader

First I thought: who wants to read about an asthmatic, mushroom-picking waif masturbating in a rain sodden glen next to a god forsaken logging town? But then, Guterson pulls you into a Marian legend of lost souls: Ann Holmes, the visionary run-away...   Read More

Laurita Fernandez

Insult
In the beginning of the book, at first I found it entertaining. On page 83 the first paragraph someone shouted, a football comment these guys better get a "nigger" a running back like all the good teams got these days. Continued on, If the ...   Read More

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