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Exiles

A Novel

Ron Hansen

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Description

With Exiles, Ron Hansen tells the story of a notorious shipwreck that prompted Gerard Manley Hopkins to break years of "elected silence" with an outpouring of dazzling poetry.

In December 1875 the steamship Deutschland left Bremen, bound for England and then America. On board were five young nuns who, exiled by Bismarck's laws against Catholic religious orders, were going to begin their lives anew in Missouri. Early one morning, the ship ran aground in the Thames and more than sixty lives were lost--including those of the five nuns.

Hopkins was a Jesuit seminarian in Wales, and he was so moved by the news of the shipwreck that he wrote a grand poem about it, his first serious work since abandoning a literary career at Oxford to become a priest. He too would die young, an exile from the literary world. But as Hansen's gorgeously written account of Hopkins's life makes clear, he fulfilled his calling.

Combining a thrilling tragedy at sea with the seeming shipwreck of Hopkins's own life, Exiles joins Hansen's Mariette in Ecstasy (called "an astonishingly deft and provocative novel" by The New York Times) as a novel that dramatizes the passionate inner search of religious life and makes it accessible to us in the way that only great art can.

Publishers Weekly Review

Mar 03, 2008 – Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844–1889) wrote some of the most beautiful and innovative poetry in English of the late 19th century. In Hansen's vivid fiction, Hopkins is a promising Oxford graduate who writes verse throughout college, converts to Roman Catholicism in his early 20s and takes church orders. Those acts ostracize him from his family and silence his poetry. In parallel with Hopkins's story, Hansen explores the event that jolts Hopkins back into writing in 1875: the sinking of the Deutschland—whose victims include five Catholic nuns exiled from Germany by Bismarck—at the mouth of the Thames. Delivering a deft blend of literary biography and disaster tale, Hansen wrings a white-knuckled drama out of the lives of the poet/priest and five extraordinary German women, who were headed to St. Louis, Mo., to lead the American branch of their order. As for Hopkins, his poetry is poorly received for its unconventionality, and his Jesuit superiors punish him for his “oddities” (Hansen steers clear of Hopkins's sexuality). Hansen finds in the difficult paths of six remarkable people the pursuit of “a tranquil, soothing God of intimacy and tolerance and unquenchable love.” Fans of Hopkins's verse will cherish the chance to revisit the astonishing 280-line “The Wreck of the Deutschland,” reprinted as a coda.
Exiles
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Historical
  • Published: Mar 15, 2010
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 250 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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