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Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage (The Crosswicks Journal, Book 4) Paperback – October 18, 1989

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Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage (The Crosswicks Journal, Book 4) + The Irrational Season (The Crosswicks Journal, Book 3) + The Summer of the Great-Grandmother (Crosswicks Journal, Book 2)
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Since her debut with The Small Rain in 1945, L'Engle has continued to write critically acclaimed books for adults and young readers, including a Newbery Medal-winner, A Wrinkle in Time. But this story of her marriage surpasses her best work so far. Starting with accounts of her childhood, she describes her life as a young woman in Manhattan, attracted to the theater and landing a job as an understudy touring with Eva Le Gallienne and Hugh Franklin. L'Engle and Franklin married in 1946, creating a bond that was broken ony by his death 40 years later. As Franklin's roles (with the Lunts, Ethel Barrymore, Maurice Evans, etc.) kept him absent frequently, there were problems, especially when they became parents. Yet most crises were viewed in perspective, especially when the couple gathered with children, grandchildren and friends at Crosswick, the old house in Connecticut that remains L'Engle's "icon." As expected, she writes beautifully here, sharing funny, exuberant and trying moments of the "two-part invention." Reading the book is a profound spiritual experience.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Those who have enjoyed L'Engle's fiction or who have followed her husband Hugh Franklin's character of Dr. Charles Tyler on All My Children should enjoy reading about their real - life marriage. L'Engle shares many moments from their early life in the New York theater and publishing circles. In addition, she tells about their early marriage and family life at their Connecticut farmhouse. A large portion of the book details Franklin's death from cancer in 1987. During this trying period their great love and L'Engle's strong Christian faith are both centerpieces of her story. Like L'Engle's other nonfiction works, this one demonstrates an easy conversational style and an expert prose technique.
- Carolyn Praytor Boyd, Episcopal High School, Bellaire, Tex.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Series: Crosswicks Journal (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Reprint edition (October 18, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062505017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062505019
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #195,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Madeleine L'Engle, the popular author of many books for children and adults, has interspersed her writing and teaching career with raising three children, maintaining an apartment in New York and a farmhouse of charming confusion which is called "Crosswicks."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, along with C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed, are two of the best books ever written about love and loss. L'Engle's characteristic style of inspired wanderings brings you back gently and eventually to her main discussion of her courtship and 40-year marriage, and to the inevitable and tragic ending thereof. While certainly saddening, this book is not about wallowing in grief, but is a celebration of the non-traditional (in many ways) life that she and Hugh built together, and how the strength and love of their relationship rippled outward to affect all they came in contact with: children, god-children, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By MH on October 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
(Two Part Invention) I was touched by the way this woman thought as she entered marriage; how she considered the marriage before any other factor in life. As someone born in the last 40 years, I have honestly never heard a woman talk about her marriage in those terms. I was humbled and thought what a shame...we have lost something very special and gentle: honoring marriage. I never did, never knew anyone who did, marriage for myself and those in my circle was more of a nuisance. After two painful divorces I could finally hear Madeline's voice and everything she said made such beautiful and perfect sense. I long for that type of life and marriage and never realized all along it had to come from me. I also cried after putting the book down and a tear often comes when the book comes to mind. I always remember her thought about moving into the city - where she didn't particularly want to live - so that she could be the wife "hosting the slumber party" when they were snowed in, rather than being the wife getting the call when the husband wouldn't be coming home to the suburbs. And how she adjusted her whole sleep schedule to accomodate her husbands' late work nights. Sigh. Thank you Madeline, thank you for a voice that is not often heard.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Eric Brotheridge on February 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
What if this book were spread across the bookshelves of stores in the marriage section, replacing the countless "How to.."'s? I believe those seeking guidance and strength for their own marriages would be better served. There is, in so much of what is written about marriage today, an abundance of techniques, tips and tricks to smooth the struggle, if not attempt to eliminate it altogether. L'Engle honors the struggle in this book. Her writing sings when she describes the most difficult times in her relationship.
Life and relationship in marriage is about the details. L'Engle's descriptions of countless meals, sitting on her four-poster bed talking into the night with close ones, and of conversations held with intimate friends and family, are jewel-like stones laid on a fascinating and well-told tale of one path of marriage.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
This book was given to me as part of a wedding gift. I read it on my honeymoon, and though it is heartbreaking, even more so it is inspirational. I have since given a copy as a wedding or engagement gift to all of my friends when they get married. I have reread it each year of my marraige, and find it only gets better with age.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Miss E on March 4, 2003
Format: Paperback
Two-Part Invention was wonderful. Madeleine L'Engle talks about her 40 year marriage in retrospect - while dealing with the imminent death of her husband after a long struggle with illness. It is moving and profound and inspiring - not depressing at all, despite the sad subject matter. I appreciated that she talked about her craft - and the struggle between being a good wife and mother and being a writer. I'm far from a "writer" but I understand her plight - finding a balance between her vocation as a mother and wife and her avocation as a writer while still doing it all. I think anyone who has a passion for art or writing or any sort of creation and has struggled with that creative urge in the face of their other responsibilities will understand. Wonderful.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on April 2, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book, along with C.S. Lewis' A Grief Observed, are two of the best books ever written about love and loss. L'Engle's characteristic style of inspired wanderings brings you back gently and eventually to her main discussion of her courtship and 40-year marriage, and to the inevitable and tragic ending thereof. While certainly saddening, this book is not about wallowing in grief, but is a celebration of the non-traditional (in many ways) life that she and Hugh built together, and how the strength and love of their relationship rippled outward to affect all they came in contact with: children, god-children, friends, neighbors, and acquaintances.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jill Van Vliet on December 18, 1999
Format: Paperback
It is a credit to the lucid prose of Madeleine L'Engle that even as she relates the story of her marriage in a very specific historical period (New York theater in the 1940's), the message is timeless and beautiful. This book has an uncommon spirituality and such a breathtaking grasp on human connections, that it is an appropriate gift for anyone in the midst of a loving, intense partnership or for anyone who has felt such ties to another person and has been forever changed. I give this to all my best friends who are getting married or simply pondering what it is to love someone else. Absolutely lovely, memorable.
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