Ron Hansen Mariette in Ecstasy

ISBN 13: 9780060981181

Mariette in Ecstasy

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9780060981181: Mariette in Ecstasy
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The highly acclaimed and provocatively rendered story of a young postulant's claim to divine possession and religious ecstasy.

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Review:

A novel about convent life at the turn of the century? Hardly the makings of a page-turner, yet Ron Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy is a gripping, even life-changing book. For the Sisters of the Crucifixion, each day is a ceaseless round of work, study, and prayer--one hardly separate from the other. Their daily life is itself an act of devotion, caught here in a series of illuminated tableaux: hundreds of yellow butterflies alighting on eight gray habits, moving through a field; a sister praying as she "turns over a great slab of dough that rolls as slowly as a white pig"; nuns warming their hands on the flanks of horses, swinging scythes through timothy grass, crushing grapes with their feet.

Into this idyll comes Mariette--young, pretty, devout, but, as her father says, perhaps "too high-strung" for the convent. Prone to "trances, hallucinations, unnatural piety, great extremes of temperament, and, as he put it, 'inner wrenchings,'" Mariette scalds her hands with hot water as penance, threads barbed wire underneath her breasts while she sleeps, and is convinced Jesus speaks to her. Her very glamour disturbs the gentle rhythm of the nuns' lives. But when she begins bleeding from unexplained wounds in her hands, feet, and sides, the convent is thrown into an uproar. Is Mariette a saint? Or just a lying, hysterical girl? Where do we draw the line between madness and faith, mysticism and eroticism, the life of the spirit and that of the world?

It's to Hansen's credit that he never provides easy answers. Mariette's stigmata may or may not be genuine; the novel's achingly gorgeous prose is the true miracle here. Mariette in Ecstasy is a brief, precious book, not a single word in excess, not a single word left out. --Mary Park

About the Author:

Ron Hansen is the bestselling author of the novel Atticus (a finalist for the National Book Award), Hitler's Niece, Mariette in Ecstasy, Desperadoes, and Isn't It Romantic?, as well as a collection of short stories, a collection of essays, and a book for children. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Ron Hansen lives in northern California, where he teaches at Santa Clara University.

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780060182144: Mariette in Ecstasy

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0060182148 ISBN 13:  9780060182144
Publisher: Edward Burlingame Books, 1991
Hardcover

9780330344463: Mariette in Ecstasy

Picador, 1996
Softcover

9780333638408: MARIETTE IN ECSTASY (MACMILLAN PAPERBACK FIRST S.)

PICADOR, 1995
Softcover

9780060981204: Mariette in Ecstasy : A Novel

Harper..., 1992
Softcover

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