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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
Ron Hansen has written an appealing and surprisingly non-formulaic detective novel set in Mexico. I enjoyed his frequent use of literary allusions and short, familiar phrases from... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Mitzi Humphrey
Very interesting. Took twists I never expected. Probably enjoyed more because I didn't know what it was about. Those who love a mystery will like this book.Published 3 months ago by Margie Chartrand
A sad look into the lives of a cloister order of nuns. The journal-like format of writing was not the best way to introduce and evolve the characters. I found it depressing, sad. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Grace M. Alvarez
Convent of Our Lady of Sorrows, Arcadia, New York, 1906-1907.
Seventeen year-old Mariette Baptiste enters the convent as a postulant to become a nun following in the... Read more
Good account of what nuns and convents use to be like and how people reacted to them and believed in the supernatural..Published 6 months ago by Suzanne Koury
this book was not what I expected but it was very well written and I enjoyed the story line even though it left me feeling somewhat sad. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Reality tourist
I found this to be a wonderful story. It was quite different from most books I read. I am glad to have this as part of my
permanent library stash! Read more
It seems a stylistic gimmick at first. Ron Hansen starts each of the three sections of this exquisite novel with a series of short phrases touched in as with an Impressionist's... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Roger Brunyate