Our Lady of the Forest by David Guterson

In one of his guest blogs at Old Hag, Matthew Lickona asked what contemporary novel might portray the current American Catholic scene the way Morte D’Urban succeeded in capturing an earlier era. I confess I haven’t read Morte D’Urban, but I would submit Guterson’s novel as a candidate for a genuine portrayal of the Catholicism in the U.S. today. Read Lickona’s post and my comment here.

Even though Guterson muffs the ending by doing violence to the mystery that has sustained the central plot thread, the Catholic characters in the novel are pretty fully realized, and run the gammet from Marian apparition chasers to half-hearted priests and plain old suffering believers. I read this shortly after reading The Miracle Detective, and found the treatment of Marian phenomena to be complementarily sympathetic.


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    Also doubles as an excellent coaster for among other things, Wild Turkey.

  2. Quin Finnegan says

    If I can alter the formula just slightly – from American Catholic novel to English Language Catholic novel – I’ve very much enjoyed several of David Lodge’s novels. ‘Therapy’ is especially good (and with a Kierkegaardian perspective, no less!). ‘Thinks’ and the more recent ‘Author! Author!’ are very good as well.

    And they make good coasters too.

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