Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Reading: Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson

Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson is a book I didn't quite know what to think of when I first began reading it and even now that I am finished I don't think I can give an adequate review of all it's grandeur and skill.  It is one of the best literary fictitious works I have read that approaches the Christian faith in a "secular" mindset.  The novel revolves around a young girl named Ann who has run away from home and claims to have seen the Virgin Mary in the forest where she picks mushrooms.  It is a novel about redemption, discernment, and doubt.  The main characters all have different world-views of what Christianity is and should be and Guterson excels at giving each of his characters unique voices.  This character driven novel asks the reader to take some leaps of faith, make judgement on what is true and what is false, and to ultimately decide what it means to be a Christian.

"Most of the pilgrims, hungry or sated, arid or quenched, were moved to consider their mortality by the forest’s seagreen cathedral light.  The trees rose like pillars.  Out of the fallen trees grew new trees.  A delirious photosynthetic rapture suffused the air of the place.  There was so much evidence of decay and birth it was discomfiting and comforting at once.  How could this be here and people matter so much?  The indications of human smallness and of the great span of God’s time – there they were in everything and who could think about it?  Fine shards of fear shot through the atmosphere and pierced the pilgrims in vulnerable places.  The message of the woods was simple.  You are going to die." (Page 138)
While I loved the book's raw tone and literary style, it was a tough book to get through - specifically
because of the extremely long paragraphs.  I know that may sound silly but when I'm reading before bed and I see these huge ass paragraphs, I just want to shut the book and hope that when I open it again it will be an easier read.  Regardless, the book was still an excellent read and for that I will give it 4 out of 5 stars.  It is a must read!

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