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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
I'm rounding up a mite.
I wasn't sure what to make of this novel. There are many interesting glimpses of the lives of the nuns and other residents of this convent, but... Read more
Devoured. Several reviews here are apt, so why add another.
With so many today on the "path of enlightenment" it is good to see another route to the same uncertain certainty... Read more
Ron Hansen is a poet! Love his writing --some of the sentences I just had to reread "out loud" in my mind because they were so beautiful and even onomatopoetic. Read morePublished 4 months ago by AZCatherine
The novel is obviously well-written and mysterious. However, it's very difficult to follow and I think is probably best read a second time. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Hannah MacLean
Atticus was a good read, I could not have guessed the ending.Published 5 months ago by Laverna L. Clemens
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 9 months ago by Mitzi Humphrey