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For Novelist, Imagining is an Act of Prayer

Jun 11, 2008 (Fresh Air)

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Ron Hansen has created worlds of sin in novels like The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Desperadoes. His unsavory bandits have appeared on the silver screen and earned him critical acclaim.

But priest and nuns have replaced outlaws in Hansen's most recent endeavors: The novelist was ordained a Catholic deacon in 2007, and his writing reflects an increased devotion to the Catholic faith. His latest book, Exiles, tells the story of the sea tragedy that killed five German nuns and inspired Victorian poet and Jesuit priest Gerard Manley Hopkins to write the poem, The Wreck of the Deutschland.

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