Saturday, February 7, 2009

Exiles

Not long ago I asked -- where are the Catholic novelists? My cyber friend Bill [oops I meant Rodak] suggested that I check out Ron Hansen. His latest novel Exiles is about Gerard Manley Hopkins, the great Victorian Catholic poet. So I checked it out.

The novel really follows two stories. One is the fate of five German nuns, exiled during the Kulturkampf, who died when their ship taking them to American ran aground off England. The second story is of Hopkins struggles within the Jesuit order, a struggle mirrored by his attempt to write a poem about the maritime disaster . The resulting poem, "The Wreck of the Deutschland" is considered one of Hopkins best, but he paid a price. Like some many heroic and holy people, he suffered from the "Dark Night."

The novel is a Catholic one in that it examines the motivations of people for vocations. But it is not a theological novel in the spirit of Brideshead Revisited.

7 comments:

Rodak said...

First, Bill didn't suggest that you check out Ron Hansen. Bill wouldn't know from Ron Hansen if Hansen jumped up and bit him in the ass.
Second, if you had asked, I would have suggested that you start with "Mariette in Ecstasy" which is thoroughly theological.
I had thought that perhaps the interview with Hansen--from a Catholic publication--that I linked to would have pointed you in that direction...

Anthony said...

Opps!m Sorry about that Rodak!

I have ordered Mariette in Ecstasy. I think I started with Exiles because I remember liking Hopkins's poetry when in college, and because the chaplin when I was in law school was very devoted to Newman.

Rodak said...

My birthday present from my daughters was a gift certificate from a local bookstore. My first purchase with that was "Exiles." I haven't begun reading it yet, but I'll undoubtedly post on it, once I have.

And don't EVER confuse me with Bill again.

Anthony said...

>And don't EVER confuse me with Bill again.

No worries - -I promise not too!

William R. Barker said...

I know [of] Ron Howard!!! Does that count...???

I'm still slogging through "Atlas
Shrugged." I'm up to page 599. On deck... William Buckley Jr's "Getting It Right."

(Rob - we know... you have no interest in getting anything right.)

(*WINK*)

BILL

Rodak said...

I know [of] Ron Howard!!! Does that count...???

No. No, it doesn't. But...given your, uh, "situation," we'll make an exception in your case.

William R. Barker said...

On behalf of Potsie and myself... thank you, Rob!

BILL