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Our Lady Of The Lost And Found: A Novel

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  955 ratings  ·  206 reviews
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 afte ...more
Published (first published January 1st 2001)
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I first read this three summers ago while chaperoning a mission trip to Kentucky, and it could not have been more timely. This winter I decided to reread it since I found myself in need of a little perspective once again. In this fantastic novel, the narrator is a published and respected author who is visited by the Virgin Mary; the novel is the narrator's tale of the visitation, and she punctuates it with well-researched references to historical Marian devotion and apparitions. It is, all at on ...more
I couldn't get through this book. There are two reasons for this: the first being I am getting my PhD in Mariology and do not need or want a history of apparitions (this has never interested me anyway) or need to know the basics of Catholic faith (this book completely ignores the Orthodox tradition's experience with Mary); the second being that the book is written in a jumble of supposedly creative non-fiction. Did this happen to the writer, or is it entirely fiction? Was it a giant excuse for a ...more
Mandy Leins
Mar 12, 2008 Mandy Leins rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mandy by: found in a bookstore while browsing
I am always impressed when an author can instill a sense of quiet in his or her work--which works to this particular novel's advantage since Mary needs a "break from it all", and a place to relax and do some laundry. Having gone to a Catholic school (although Presbyterian), I really loved being reminded of the holiness of everyday things. Mary was a real woman in this book, but the retelling of various of her appearances throughout the years also seemed humanized as a result. I find myself retur ...more
I am being generous by giving this book one star. This is probably the worst book I have ever read. For the first time in years, I had to give up on finishing a book. That's how bad it is. What was the author trying to say? What was the point of the book? If I wanted to read a theological book about "history" of Virgin Mary, I would have gotten one. If I wanted to read a philosophy and/or ancient history hight school textbook, I would have gotten one. You simply cannot cram all of this into one ...more
Aug 24, 2008 Ruth rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Catholics, Women, Middle-Aged folks, philosophy majors
This book caught my eye when I was looking for another book to mooch from someone from whom I was already mooching one. It is about a middle-aged writer of no particularly strong faith who finds the Blessed Virgin Mary in her living room one day. Mary wants someplace to chill for a week and has chosen her house. She allows Mary to stay, and while there, they talk about their lives. We find out what Mary has been doing for the last 2000 years. This is one of the few novels I've read that contains ...more
boring. I want to like the book, but.... much of the text consists of tedious unrelated lists of details, and these are not interesting details. A entire paragraph is devoted to the author's preference for a slight amount of makeup, in a very tedious manner.

Even the individual sentences are boring: "Thankfully, no one was hurt" or "I know that if I bought my calendars after new years, I could get them at half price nd save myself a little money." Perhaps the sentences are not boring. Perhaps th
Derek Emerson
It is hard to write about Mary ("the" Mary to us good Catholics) in the present day without being disrespectful, but the author does a great job. Mary visits an rather agnostic single woman for a vacation, and the woman learns to accept what she does not understand. The book contains many stories of Mary throughout history, and then adds this new twist of her interaction in today's world. Cuteness is avoided (except for some wet Nikes after saving a child in the creek miracle) and the reader is ...more
I'm always interested in books about the BVM. This one felt flat. It included a lot of history that was not well integrated into the overall plot, and the overall plot was not much -- Mary visits an ordinary woman, a writer, and the writer then writes this book about the experience. There was a lot of caginess about the author's life -- hints about some big secret or terrible past that was never revealed.

The premise is interesting as a creative nonfiction idea. The intro reveals that the author
Jen Meegan
Jan 17, 2008 Jen Meegan rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone, regardless of personal beliefs
A deceptively simple story about a seemingly unremarkable woman and her brush with the miraculous. This book is both funny and poignant. It is as much a meditation on the nature of solitude and friendship amongst women as it is an exploration of the divine. The prose is crisp and deliberate. I ended the novel with the same sense of satisfied contemplation I typically receive from a hot cup of tea.
There were a number of passages that I wanted to make note of that I especially liked. I don't feel they give anything away from the plot...

"Searching too hard for God can get in the way of finding him."

"I yearn to understand some measure of thy truth which my heart believes and loves. For I do not seek to understand in order to have faith, but I have faith in order to understand. Fo I believe even this: I shall not understand unless I have faith." Saint Anselm of Canterbury

"She was the perfect
I read this book when it first came out and loved it. I think all the minutia about Mary and the Catholic church answered a very Virgoian need for details or something. My non-Catholic friends ask why pray to Mary instead of God. I figure he's busy with the details and doesn't need to be bothered with all the little stuff all the time. She can summarize it and get it to him when he can pay attention, instead of worrying about Iraq or AIDS or who we're polluting the earth. Besides- I'm a mom, she ...more
Having been raised Catholic, I can't recall any church lesson about Jesus, Mary, or any holy person that didn't make them sound tiresome, dour, and/or pedantic. That's why I enjoy books that focus on the humanity of these figures. This is one of my favorite books; a simple story about a woman writer who walks into her living room one day and finds the Virgin Mary standing there with a suitcase. Mary explains that she's exhausted and needs a short vacation and requests to use the narrator's guest ...more
On that meme going around Facebook of the 10 books that have stuck with you, this one made my list. This reminded me that I wanted to give it a re-read so I pulled it out and spent a couple of days with it again.

While the Orthodox view of Mary is largely ignored (although Mary's name on her ATM card is Mary Theotokos) in this delightful novel, I loved the meditations and thoughts brought up in the book. It's more along the vein of Kathleen Norris' writing (who is credited in the author's notes)
A wonderful book about a woman who has an unusual house guest. The woman is a writer who lives alone and who is not religious. One day the Virgin Mary appears at her house and asks to stay for a week while she takes a vacation. The story is wonderful. The week unfolds in a very normal way but the woman soon begins to see the wonder and miraculous that surrounds us everyday. A great book!
After about 200 pages of this book, I quit reading it, which is unusual for me, especially given that this was for my book club. Reading this book was torture; it had long boring passages that felt more like lectures than a novel. This book was just much too slow-moving for my preferences.
Loved the storyline of this little book, Mary showing up in the narrator's living room looking for a break. Not a particularly religous person myself I did enjoy the stories of Mary's visitations that are peppered throughout the book.
I loved this book soooo much I want to read it again. It was the best thing I have read on faith at face value ever. I enjoyed the historical parts, the surreal woven into the real, the main character's transformation- all of it !!!!
Barbara S
I read it when it first came out and loved it then. Something called me to pick it up again. Again, I loved it. Thought provoking.
I loved this book. It was creative and beautifully written, imaginative and comforting.
Linda Brennan
Well written, food for thought.
Sharyn L.
Made me think...... a lot.
I finally completed "Our Lady of the Lost and Found," which was not a page turner, nor was it the light magic realist narrative I expected (Schoemperlen includes several allusions to Isabel Allende's "The House of the Spirits," for example), but it was fun nonetheless, and here's why. Diane Schoemperlen has bravely created a story about a friendship between an ordinary, middle aged woman writer and the Blessed Virgin Mary who appears to her in a contemporary setting because, as Mary tells the na ...more
Maria Martinez
The narrator of the story is a middle-aged author who has settled into a life of writing and certain daily routines. She is protestant but not practicing. Much to her surprise she is visited by the Virgin Mary, someone she knows very little about. Mary comes to her as a middle-aged woman who is tired and wants to spend a week in her house. Mary makes it clear that she is the Virgin Mary. During the week Mary tells the author about all the prayers that she receives from different people, how peop ...more
J. Else
This book is a very slow read. A long history about the Virgin Mary is presented up front and reads as if a professor is droning on in front of a class. The minute details get to be too much with nothing else is happening in the book. The character lays down for a nap, but then goes on and on about the set up of her room. I do not need to know the color of her bedspread and the way her furniture is arranged. This writing style makes it feel like forever before the author makes a point.

I picked
Jan 25, 2010 Linden rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in Marian history
Recommended to Linden by: Sara, sort of.
Our Lady of the Lost and Found is a quiet book; a writer is visited by Mary, the Mary, for a short stay in the writer's spare bedroom. The story weaves among the writer's internal life, her conversations with Mary, research about Her, and Her historical encounters with other everyday people.

Schoemperlen's writing is lovely--her imagery comes from clear observation, her protagonist is believable, likable, and her language is often elegant. She also has a sense of the shape of large and small uni
Jun 08, 2009 Olga rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those interested in time, history, story, Mary or, like myself, in all of the above
Recommended to Olga by: Feminist Theology and Spirituality class
Shelves: novels, spirituality, 2009
This was most definitely a fast read! I started it on an evening of a weary Monday and by Tuesday afternoon it was all read.

This novel, as everyone can see from the title, is about Mary, but the major theme of the novel, at least as I see it, is history seen as an intersection of a story and our perception of time. The ideas about history were great, even if not new to me, and so were the ideas about stories. The section on time was endearing! Probably, one of my favorite ones in the book.

And t
Nov 03, 2013 Kathleen marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: try-again-later
Here's the thing. I started this book yesterday. You may notice that it is still marked "to-read," not "currently-reading." Well, that's because I don't like flipflopping shelves, and I have a very strong feeling that this one will not get read anytime soon.

For the record, I am at about page 100.

Why do I have this book? you may ask. Well. I got it because I could get extra credit two years ago if I went to the on-campus book signing where Schoemperlen would read a bit, talk about her book, and t
I was expecting a much different book; something more subtly comedic and entertaining. The Mary in this book seems disconnected, both from her current existence (whatever that is) and her past. She says she is longing for an uneventful rest before May when the fun starts for her followers. So she and the author go about the simple life of the average single middle-aged woman: shopping, preparing meals, reading and talking about their pasts. That is the one interesting thing about book; the descr ...more
Bev Hankins
Our Lady of the Lost and Found by Diane Schoemperlen is a knock-out book. It wins on almost all counts. The story revolves around a middle-aged writer who finds herself with an unexpected houseguest who plans to stay for a week. A long-lost friend? A relative barging in? No, just the Virgin Mary who has not had a vacation in 2000 years and has decided that she needs a quiet break from all the prayers, petitions, and miracles. Mary arrives in a long black dress, with a white shawl over her head a ...more
I was attracted by this book's title. The author calls it a novel, but it really would have been more appropriately structured as a series of essays or meditiations. The central focus in the Virgin Mary, and Shoemperlin invents a visitation to the narrator, a writer, to get her thoughts moving into things spiritual and existential. She integrates thoughts on duality, history, science, truth, myth, story-telling, vision, and the evolving self, among other things, as she relates a parallel telling ...more
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Diane Schoemperlen, short-story writer, novelist, teacher, editor (b at Thunder Bay, Ont 9 July 1954). Diane Schoemperlen grew up in Thunder Bay, Ont, and attended Lakehead University. After graduating in 1976, she spent a summer studying at the Banff Centre, under such writers as W.O. MITCHELL and Alice MUNRO. Since 1986, she has focused on her writing career and has taught creative writing at sc ...more
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“I remind myself that not everything is a sign, that some things simply are what they appear to be and should not be analyzed, deconstructed, or forced to bear the burden of metaphor, symbol, omen, or portent.” 28 likes
“Against all odds and despite all evidence to the contrary, still we trust that there will be a light at the end of the tunnel, of our personal tunnel anyway.” 3 likes
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