Synopses & Reviews
In the tradition of Flannery O'Connor and Andre Dubus, A Stay Against Confusion
explores the role that religious belief and literature play in one writer's life. All creative writing is, in the words of Robert Frost, "a stay against confusion." It tries to find a harmony and order that we only fleetingly detect beneath the chaos of everyday life, and to point out motivations and causalities in what seem to be random and often meaningless acts. Religion has also functioned in this way for Ron Hansen, and it shares with literature both a reverence for mystery and the use of metaphor to communicate another order that we will never fully perceive or comprehend.
In this rich and deeply felt collection of essays, Hansen talks about his novels, his childhood and family, and about such mentors as John Gardner. He explores prayer, stigmata, twentieth-century martyrs, and the Eucharist. A profile of his grandfather, a "tough-as-nails, brook-no-guff Colorado rancher," finds a place alongside a wonderfully informative portrait of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. A brilliant reading of a story by Leo Tolstoy follows an appreciation of the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins. A surprisingly intimate book, A Stay Against Confusion brings together the literary and religious impulses that inform the life of one of our most gifted fiction writers.
“A book that shines as a consequence of an accomplished writers deeply felt (and understood) moral and spiritual energy.” Robert Coles, author of Lives of Moral Lead ership
“Wise and searching.” Wall Street Journal
"This vital new collection of essays … is a generous benefaction … fascinating … courageous." Rick Moody, Book Forum
"Rich, eloquent and thoughtful ... This is a deeply satisfying read." Publishers Weekly
“Erudite and meditative, A Stay Against Confusion…depicts a profound, complex spirituality…brims with intelligence, passion and conviction.” San Francisco Chronicle
"Refreshing and enlightening … only rarely does any writer explain himself so clearly and so courageously." Los Angeles Times
About the Author
Ron Hansen is the bestselling author of the novel Atticus (a finalist for the National Book Award), Hitler's Niece, Mariette in Ecstasy, Desperadoes, and Isn't It Romantic?, as well as a collection of short stories, a collection of essays, and a book for children. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award. Ron Hansen lives in northern California, where he teaches at Santa Clara University.