Magazine October 16, 2017, Issue

Binding Wounds

Novelist Alice McDermott. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)
The Ninth Hour, by Alice McDermott (Farrar, Straus, 256 pp., $26)

Nearly 25 years ago, Ron Hansen’s novel Mariette in Ecstasy made convent life fodder for great literature. Hansen’s exquisite, prose-poetic sentences dressed a scintillating plot: Mariette, a beautiful 17-year-old postulant with the Sisters of the Crucifixion, is warned: “Don’t try to be exceptional; simply be a good nun.” God clearly has other plans, as “blood scribbles down her wrists and ankles and scrawls like red handwriting on the floor.” Her stigmata are scandalous. The nuns reject her.

Hansen’s novel considers what happens when habitual devotion cinctures the heart from accepting wonder and mystery. The Ninth Hour, the newest novel from National

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Letters

Letters

Give Me Your Poesy I very much enjoyed Kevin D. Williamson’s essay on Emma Lazarus (“Wretched Refuse, Indeed,” August 28) and the way in which her famous poem, which had several ...
The Week

The Week

‐ Some stood, some knelt, all winced. ‐ President Trump’s speech to the U.N. General Assembly was a combination of idealism and blunt talk. Most striking was his ode to national ...
Athwart

Take a Small Knee

The National Anthem protests that have taken place around the country could be just the beginning of a backlash against the ‘evil’ heterosexual white man.
Poetry

Poetry

M.A.C. East Lansing, Michigan On either side, the highway’s barren stretch Is dwarfed by the wide wastes of prairie grass, Its pale dry leaves weaved with dark heads of vetch And clumps of sumac shimmering ...

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