Even before I started reading Mariette in Ecstasy (1991) by Ron Hansen, I had an inkling that I really like cloister stories (I read one I quite liked last year.). But after finishing this one, I’m sure of it.
I knew next to nothing about this book before I began reading it — it’s on the list, so I read it.
Set in upstate New York in 1906, title character Mariette — pronounced with a mar as in blemish, not as in mare, per the book — is a postulant at the local convent. The bulk of the story, of the drama, dwells after she begins experiencing Christ’s suffering in a very real, very bodily way.
This post has been sitting dormant for more than a week. I just don’t know what to write. I loved the book, but I don’t want to get very far into it. It’s better if you just read the book (if you want to, I mean) — I don’t want to give anything away.
I plan to read more of Hansen’s work.
Per Wikipedia: Hansen was born in Omaha, Nebraska, and earned a bachelor’s degree in English from Creighton University. He received an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and held a Wallace Stegner Creative Writing Fellowship at Stanford University. He later earned a master’s in spirituality from Santa Clara University.
I am still puzzling over why both cloister stories I’ve read, both set in convents, were written by men, though. Anyone have ideas? Or suggestions of cloister books written by women?
Here’s another review of the book.