Saturday, September 22, 2007

Holy Houseguest

A friend sent me a copy of Our Lady of the Lost and Found: A Novel of Mary, Faith, and Friendship, with a note saying she thought I "might like it."

Good guess, Denise; I loved it.

I found the premise imaginative and intriguing--walking into your living room and finding a very modern-day Blessed Mother standing there, rolling luggage in tow. Author Diane Schoemperlen first draws the reader into the narrator's quiet, solitary life through the small, mundane details of everday existence. Then, after Mary's arrival for a week's visit, the two women explore questions of faith and philosophy alongside such basic chores as doing laundry, cooking, and housecleaning.

Schoemperlen does a stellar job of interweaving the simple practicalities of life with profound and timeless mysteries, often with a deft hint of humor. I could easily relate to her narrator, both as a writer and as a woman living alone with her private assortment of doubts and regrets.

Books that educate and make me think while absorbing and entertaining me always earn a special slot on my personal all-time bestseller list. Within the first few chapters, Our Lady of the Lost and Found jumped into the top tier. Which is, after all, where the Blessed Mother belongs.