Christine Lehner


Absent a Miracle
Alice Fairweather, a lapsed Catholic who lives in upstate New York with her two sons and philandering husband (whom she loves to distraction), has just lost her dream job as a radio talk-show host.When one of the family dogs suddenly becomes gravely ill, Alice opts out of a family spelunking vacation to nurse the pooch. Unexpectedly, her husband's charismatic Harvard roommate, Abelardo - coffee planter, failed seminarian, and scion of an old Nicaraguan family - comes to visit as part of his quest to have his aunt canonized as the first Nicaraguan saint. In wake of a freak snowstorm, Abelardo must return to Nicaragua with his mission unaccomplished. But Alice, with time on her hands and a void to fill, takes up his obsession. She befriends, Hubert van Toots, the ex-monk librarian at the Hagiographers Club and she becomes something of an expert on unsaintly female saints. Then she finds herself on a plan to Nicaragua, just as the weather gets really bad.

What to Wear to See the Pope
A conflicted Catholic and amateur linguist, Ursula Codwell has a passion for saints and semantics that is surpassed only by the affection she feels for her husband, her children and her precious bulldog. Her indecisiveness and attention to detail lead her to become fixated on matters such as reclaiming her surgically removed tissue from the lab or deciding what to wear when the pope comes to visit her hometown. In ten interconnected stories Ė all narrated by Ursula Ė What to Wear to See the Pope tells the highly entertaining story of a strained but loving family.

With abbreviated names and unprefaced intimacy, Christine Lehnerís Expecting chronicles the comic, tender, occasionally ominous events between a young womanís first pregnancy test and the celebration of her babyís birth.

Cís dreams, vivid images of Central American coups, sea journeys, homes crowded with foreign guests, seem not only to reflect but also to prophesy. A coup díetat is in fact attempted by Central American women; Cís grandmother, extravagantly courted by a neighboring widower, consents to accompany him to a tropical island; Cís mother is housebound during a blizzard with a non-English speaking central American guest who goes gruesomely snow-mad. Familial concern, superstition, and wonder surround the mother-to-be and her growing baby. But despite all outer turbulence and intrigue, Baby Milo floats in her amniotic lake, unperturbed.

What they say about Lehner's books

Absent a Miracle
A surprising, funny novel about saintly sinners, sinning saints, and the storms of love surrounding them.
--Cathleen Schine
It's pure, unadulterated adulterous entertainment...Lehner is a talented humorist.
--New York Times, August 23, 2009
What to Wear to See the Pope
Perhaps the most haunting, idiosyncratic, gleefully subversive, and satisfying story collection Iíve read since Isak Dinesenís Seven Gothic Tales.
--Richard Russo
One becomes quickly addicted to what Christine Lehner writes. Expecting sticks in my memory, it invades my dreams, it reshaped my consciousness... her originality in using the metaphor of expecting for so much of young life, the outer detail graphic and realistic, the Ďrealí, inner world described in spare, elegant prose, events which are at once hazy and dreamlike, humorous, sharp and absurd.
--Doris Grumbach

Christine Lehner's blog: Sort, Quench & Dump. It's idiosyncratic, amusing and surprisingly informative.

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