Our Lady of the Lost and Found: Big Stories

…When I began to write this book, I thought it would be a simple story one that would result in a slender pretty volume with gold lettering and a Renaissance painting of Mary and Jesus on the cover. But soon after I started reading about her, I realized that I could not write the story of Mary’s visit to me, fictionalized or not, while I ignored her whole history, the history of the last two thousand years.

Each story of Mary that I have discovered could (and sometimes does) constitute a whole book in itself. For each one of the stories I’ve attempted to retell here there are hundreds more that I haven’t got room for. As the story of Mary that I was trying to tell grew ever more complex, I could not decide whether trying to get it all straight was more like untangling a gigantic ball of wool or like being caught in a labyrinth. Some stories are too small to be novels but others, I soon found, might just be too big. I could only hope Italo Calvino was right when he said that, while overly ambitious projects may be objectionable in many other fields, in literature they are not.

—Diane Schoemperlen, Our Lady of the Lost and Found

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