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The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn: a novel

The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn: a novel


The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn: a novel

ratings:
3.5/5 (7 ratings)
Length:
7 hours
Released:
Mar 8, 2004
ISBN:
9781598871487
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

Description

Told from the viewpoint of four unforgettable characters, this is the story of an ordinary girl, thought to be a modern-day Holy Virgin.

Francesca Dunn is an adolescent like any other, trying to figure out her place in the world. One night Chester a homeless man, “sees” Francesca hovering over the river, bathed in celestial light. Days later, as Francesca serves meals to the needy, 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.

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; Ann 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 brings an unforgettable cast of characters to vibrant life as it brilliantly explores the seductive and destructive power of belief.

Released:
Mar 8, 2004
ISBN:
9781598871487
Format:
Audiobook

Also available as...

Also available as bookBook

About the author

Janis Hallowell, author of The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn, is a MacDowell Fellow, and her short fiction has been published in Ploughshares. She lives in Colorado with her husband and daughter.



Reviews

What people think about The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn

3.6
7 ratings / 7 Reviews
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Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (4/5)
    The book had me from the beginning, and my only reasoning behind 4 stars vs. more was I wanted more. I felt that author started with a great concept, pulled me into caring and then rushed the ending. I loved reading the different points of view through Chester, Sid & Anna, but sadly the author denied me the one first person point of view I wanted... Francesca's. I'd love to pick the author's brain as to why she withheld what I thought the most important piece of the puzzle. With it, and just a bit more of a push at the end, I would easily have given this book a 4.
  • (4/5)
    A homeless man, Chester, living on the streets in Boulder, Colorado, is an ex-professor and present-day schizophrenic. Ronnie owns a restaurant in Boulder and serves free meals to Chester and many other homeless men and women. Ronnie's next-door neighbors are Anne and Francesca Dunn. Francesca helps out at the restaurant. Anne is recently divorced from Francesca's father who has moved to Italy with his new girlfriend. Francesca, 14, misses him desperately and has been exhibiting some concerning behaviors that land her in a "special" school where she meets Sid. Sid is a "cutter," and Sid's mother is an alcoholic and has poor taste in men, and Sid spends a lot of her time care-taking. Chester has a vivid dream where Francesca is shown to him as the Virgin Mary, pregnant with the Christ child. The story of what follows is told through the eyes of Anne, Francesca, Sid, and Chester. The author did an excellent job of bringing the characters to life, and I came to care about all of them, warts and all. The ending is shocking and mundane all at the same time. Very enjoyable and unique read.
  • (4/5)
    I purchased this book at a library sale. It sounded like something different. It was, but I enjoyed it. She touches on several subjects that give you thought and that is what I enjoy in a book. It says it is a book that explores the seductive and distructive power of belief. That pretty much sums it up.
  • (3/5)
    Strong plot, but ultimately unsatisfying. I did not ever connect with any of the characters. I found some of the narrative sections too short, and particularly, the character Anne was there solely to provide a counterpoint to the religious aspect of the book. She was a skeptic with a capital S. The main character, Francesca, was enigmatic. I guess like Mary. Hmmm. All in all, I was interested enough to keep going, but I never was "inside" the book at all.
  • (3/5)
    Surprisingly, a good read about a young girl who becomes the Virgin Mary and savior to people in her town.
  • (5/5)
    An Allegory for Our TimesJanis Hallowell’s The Annunciation of Francesca Dunn takes a surprisingly convincing leap of imagination into the lives of saints, or ordinary people who might be construed as such. I found myself wanting Francesca to be holy, a miracle, just as much as the book’s many needy of heart and/or body did. This wise book, by causing me to recognize that wish in myself, expanded my understanding of the religious impulse. It is not a mindless drive toward mass hypnosis, as I’ve sometimes suspected, but a need to love, surrender and revere. While the writing is as particular and the characters as real as in any realistic novel, the story is also an allegory, showing us, through the homeless Chester, the self-transcendence possible through worship, while also dissecting the corruption that often tempts those closest to worship’s object. Francesca’s best friend Sid is as tragically bound to betray her as Judas was Christ.