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Publisher's Summary

A failed prodigy and child of divorce, Francesca Dunn is also an adolescent like any other, trying to find her identity and figure out her place in the world. One night, Chester, a visionary homeless man (or an insane one, depending on your point of view) "sees" Francesca hovering over the river, bathed in celestial light. Days later, as Francesca serves meals to the needy in a local cafi, Chester falls to his knees before her in adoration. Word spreads, hordes of followers converge, and the result is a catastrophic storm of fervent belief and doubt, the relentless and perpetual desire for salvation, possible miracles, and an adolescent trapped by events far beyond her control.

The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn is a beautifully crafted tale about people who pin their hopes for spiritual salvation on a young girl; and how, slowly, surely, and tragically, she comes to believe that she is the divine being they want her to be. At stake for each is nothing less than the fundamental belief in the structure of the world, and the balance between the miraculous and the mundane.

Narrating by turns are four disparate characters who tell the story as they see it: Chester, who smells fear, disease, and holiness and appoints himself Francesca's protector and follower; Anne Dunn, Francesca's paleobotanist mother, who places her faith in Darwin and natural selection; Sid, the schoolmate, who wants to use Francesca's new circumstances for her own profit; and Francesca herself, who becomes increasingly deluded by the adoration bestowed upon her.

At once powerful, tender, and humorous, The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn is an astonishing and resonant work from an exciting new talent. With each of its gentle revelations, the novel brings an unforgettable cast of characters to vibrant life as it brilliantly explores the seductive and destructive power of belief.

©2004 Janis Hallowell (P)2004 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"A unique novel about the human yearning for the divine and the divine possibility in human beings. Beautifully written and thought-provoking, it will steal your heart." (Sue Monk Kidd, author of The Secret Life of Bees)

What listeners say about The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle
  • 16-05-2004

Loved the story, wished for one narrator

The story is told from different characters' points of view, thus this is narrated by more than one person. While the story is compelling and very human, the voice of one of the characters was grating and made the book less enjoyable as a "listen."
Yet, it is the humanity of this story that makes it one worth listening to. The book leaves you with a lot to think about but with no clear answers regarding questions about modern-day miracles.

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Martha
  • 19-06-2005

OK - but kind of predictable

Our Lady of the Forest by Gutterson is on same theme, but better writing.

1 person found this helpful

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