Mariette in Ecstasy

Ron Hansen

Elissa told me she’s bought several copies of this book, as she did once again while in town last week, leaving it with me to read when she left. An appropriate choice for Easter weekend, it follows the story of Mariette, a young postulant of the Sisters of the Crucifixion in the early 1900s. Shortly after arriving at the priory, she begins experiencing ecstasies — or perhaps is just showing off and trying to draw attention to herself.

The structure of the book is finely tuned, with the poetically fragmented descriptions of setting that funnel into the narrative cleanly, interspersed with excerpts of interviews between the priest and sisters about Mariette. A quietly suspenseful novel.