Putnam, Jun 2001, 23.95, 272 pp.
Lily Connor was born and raised as a Catholic, but left the church to become an Episcopalian minister. She is a tentmaker, earning a living outside the church and has no assigned church although the diocese would like her to serve in one. Her closest friend, Anna Baneta, watched the Nazis kill her parents for harboring Jews. Anna went to an orphanage and then to Auschwitz before immigrating to America.
Lily and Anna work for the ecumenical council sponsoring an event involving the Holocaust. When they arrive at the church to insure everything is ready for the worshippers, they find a Nazi flag and some vandalism. Anna thinks she knows who is behind the sacrilege and tells this to Lily before leaving to take a bus home. However, instead of reaching her destination, Anna vanishes, leaving Lily determined to find her.
EARTH HAS NO SORROW is a powerful work that does not preach, but questions some of the basic tenets of organized religion through Lily's crisis of faith. Readers feel her anguish, confusion, and sorrow over what she believes is a failure on her part. The complex mystery contains numerous feasible suspects, which makes for a difficult guess as to whom is the culprit. Michelle Blake uses a missing person's tale to focus on religion, but never decrees any judgment.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner