Our Lady of the Forest

by David Guterson

Hardcover, 2003





New York : A.A. Knopf, 2003.


This novel is about a teenage girl, Ann Holmes, who claims to see the Virgin Mary. A sixteen-year-old runaway, Ann 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 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--impartially--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 has 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.… (more)

User reviews

LibraryThing member susabusa
Never got me to really care about the characters. I liked Ann and I thought her interaction with the priest was interesting, but the side story of Tom was annoying and I didn't really care about him. I also never believed that Carolyn was out for anyone but herself. The ending was better than the book, but I think I was just glad to be done with it.… (more)
LibraryThing member hockeycrew
I was hoping for something more along the lines of Snow Falling on Cedars, I didn't get that. Perhaps I'm a skeptic anyways, but I never found any descriptions of visions to be convincing. Perhaps it was ment to be that way. If you want a good David Guterson book, read Snow Falling on Cedars, not this one.
LibraryThing member MeganAndJustin
The style of writing was a bit of a revelation. In a lesser writer the lack of punctuation and capitalization would have been a disaster, but Guterson turned it to a graceful flow of thought, revealing a deeply feeling novel of faith and beauty.
LibraryThing member LukeS
A close, damp, green, cynical, and very real recounting of a young woman's hallucinating vision of the Blessed Virgin in a rain forest in the Pacific Northwest. The most telling part is the speed with which the faithful gather for this purportedly concrete manifestation. The use of chat rooms and Web forums leads to a camper city forming overnight on the site.

Guterson is genuine, vivid, and unblinking in portraying the various players. And the cupidity - both in its lustful and avaricious meanings - shows through in this closely- and well-observed story.
… (more)
LibraryThing member dotarvi
The style of writing was a bit of a revelation. In a lesser writer the lack of punctuation and capitalization would have been a disaster, but Guterson turned it to a graceful flow of thought, revealing a deeply feeling novel of faith and beauty.
LibraryThing member mbergman
A peculiar story written in a peculiar way by the author of the wonder Snow Falling on Cedars. In this novel, a young runaway sees & hears the Virgin Mary in the Oregon forests, & soon develops a vast following. Both the characters & the plot developments are at times implausible, but it's always fascinating reading.… (more)
LibraryThing member Niecierpek
One of those books that we might label “thought-provoking”, and not character driven, or plot driven, but idea driven. It examines a case of Marian visions of a 15 year old runaway in Oregon in 1999. It investigates the nature of miracles and God, and is thoroughly cynical in some places and leaning towards mystical and unexplained in others. In many ways it is a complement to, you wouldn’t ever guess it, The DaVinci Code in its pondering the feminine, or rather the absence of it from the Catholic church. My esteem for the author has grown significantly after this book. He is able to produce books so different from each other that it’s hard to guess that they have been written by the same person. Besides, he was born to Jewish parents, and yet, has researched the subject so thoroughly in its theological and sociological phenomena, that you would never guess he is not a Catholic who spent his life contemplating the questions of his faith. I would be cautious about reading it if you are a strong believer, though. It’s critical of clergy too.… (more)
LibraryThing member kateiyzie
Loved Snow Falling on Cedars, but not this book. A homeless girl "sees" the Virgin Mary. Lots of boring in-betweens.
LibraryThing member edwinbcn
I picked up this book because it was a price-reduced hardcover, and I thought I might give this best-seller author a try, and quite a disappointment it was. The story is extremely flimsy, and lacks suspense. It read like a mediocre kind of B-movie, somewhat reminiscent of Dream Catcher, but with unexpectedly strong religious overtones. Is there anywhere the suggestion that the vision is psychedelic? It could be, why else is the main character out in the woods picking mushrooms (of all things)?

Nothing in the story justifies its development into 320+ pages. A real pain to get through.
… (more)
LibraryThing member LisMB
This book was enjoyable and very thought inspiring. I was slightly uncomfortable with the several self intimate parts of the book however. Other than that a great read
LibraryThing member hobbitprincess
I was intrigued by this book because of the subject matter. I lived in Conyers and indeed even knew the lady who saw the Virgin Mary back in the 1990s. I wanted to see what this author's take on it was. This novel is about so much more than a young girl who has visions, however. It's mostly the story of an economically depressed town and some of the people who live there, who are trying to do what they can in a bad situation. When Ann sees her visions, it's interesting to see how people react, both believers and nonbelievers. The author does not really present an opinion as to whether or not the visions are real. I learned a good bit about how the Catholic church handles such things, and it prompted me to do my own research regarding our local experiences. The book did drag a bit, and if I hadn't had some distant experience with the subject matter, I don't know if I would have finished the book.… (more)
LibraryThing member Doey
absolute tripe.
LibraryThing member verenka
The story revolves around Ann and the characters involved in her visitation: a fellow mushroom picker who wants to spend the winter in Mexico, the priest who just questions his faith and the out of work logger who strugges with destiny. The story is told almost distant, matter-of-factly and from the characters' perspective. It's not religious nor particularly spiritual or sentimental. She just sees the Virgin Mary. I could see the end coming but I liked it all the same.… (more)
LibraryThing member sparkingpot
very enjoyable
LibraryThing member rexmedford
Guterson is a fine writer....and his previous works have set a high bar. This book was a bit unique in style, and I enjoyed that. However, the characters and storyline were not so gripping, although they were very real and devleped well. This book is not in the same league as "Snow Falling on Cedars", but perhaps it was written not to be.....a different effort to be judged differently. A book I will recommend, but a hint to the new reader to expect something new from this author.… (more)



Page: 0.2439 seconds