Strange, extraordinary things are happening in Hudson City. A beautiful Vietnamese-American girl has been appearing to residents in their dreams, and there are reports that bum legs, sinus headaches, and tonsillitis are clearing up all over town. Amazingly, one young man has even spontaneously regained his hearing. And the Miracle Girl, newspapers and local TV eagerly report, is deaf.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy Quinn manages real estate for the Catholic diocese, but he's a man of little faith. Raised on Watergate and Vietnam, nurtured on the materialism of the eighties and nineties, he couldn't be less likely to believe in miracles. Sue Phong, he is certain, is a fraud. But thousands of pilgrims are pouring into upstate New York, eager for healing, hope, or even just a glimpse of the Miracle Girl.
In this sweltering late summer, as the media circus - dubbed "miracle mania" - heats up, Quinn's world is falling apart. His sex life has disintegrated, and he's pretty sure that Rita, the love of his life, is having an affair. Inching ever closer to forty, he feels trapped in his dead-end church job. And in the middle of it all, his friend Buddy Jensen is trying to sweeten their latest business deal, forcing Quinn to take a hard look at the fine line between a favor and a kickback. He's primed for a midlife crisis, if not a spiritual one.
And then Quinn finds himself unexpectedly face to face with the enigmatic Sue Phong, and everything begins to change. She teaches him about disillusionment and redemption, and about faith - in himself, in the people he loves, and in the possibility of something greater than all of us. Quinn's heart and hopes, along with those of his entire community, become inextricably intertwined with one young woman who really might be the Miracle Girl.
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MIRACLE GIRLUser Review - Book Verdict
In this follow-up to his successful debut novel, The Goodlife, Scribner focuses on the commercialism of religious fervor. In the dying industrial town of Hudson City, NY, a deaf Vietnamese American girl named Sue Phong begins appearing in people's dreams and healing their ailments. As the media pick up the story, throngs of worshipers flock into the city, creating a financial boom. The impact of these miracles on the residents of Hudson City is narrated by John Quinn, a space planner for the Catholic Church, who has been taking bribes from a sleazy developer named Buddy Jensen. As it becomes more and more likely that Hudson City will grow into a commercial healing site, Quinn finds himself trapped between the money and power around him and the disillusionment in his personal life. He discovers that "people who don't have faith in anything don't have miracles." It is only when Quinn decides to help Sue Phong escape from the city and destroy the growing commercialism that he finds a cure for his own failings. This is a well-crafted story with real characters and an astute insight into the lack of principles in our contemporary culture. Clearly, Scribner is a writer to watch. Highly recommended.-David A. Beron , Univ. of New Hampshire, Durham ...