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The Irrational Season (The Crosswicks Journal, Book 3) Paperback – January 1, 1984

4.5 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
Book 3 of 4 in the Crosswicks Journal Series

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Madeline 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."
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Product Details

  • Series: Crosswicks Journal
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; Later Printing edition (January 1, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0866839461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0866839464
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.5 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 (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #305,486 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
To gain a sense of the various stages of L'Engle's life, read the Crosswicks Journals in order of publication. In The Irrational Season, Book 3, L'Engle does not give any easy spiritual answers, yet somehow a sense of comfort prevails throughout the pages. Never preachy, this is a book to savor again and again. We share L'Engle's struggle as she grapples with age-old questions. One is awed by the grace with which this woman deals with conflict, both internal and external, even as she is sharing her deepest doubts. As we read, we become a part of L'Engle's spiritual quest and we make it our own.
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Format: Paperback
I have been a fan of Madeleine L'Engle since I discovered A Wrinkle in Time in the 5th grade. As an adult, I have come to appreciate her non-fiction and adult novels. Irrational Season is probably the best of her non-fiction. The story follows the litergical year and in keeping with the seasons and holidays takes the reader through pain and joy while always maintaining hope. This is an excellent book for anyone who has sometimes felt overwhelmed and questioned their faith only to find that their questioning makes them stronger.
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This book is a must-read for anyone who wants to reconcile their belief in God with their intellect. Lyrical and moving (I cried several times), The Irrational Season can be read on its own, or as part of the four-book series.
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I always find it sad (although somewhat amusing) that many children's authors are treated as if they were inferior writers, looked down upon by those "serious" authors. Madeleine L'Engle is best known for her children's books, and her adult novels and non-fiction are not very well known, but L'Engle knew enough to recognize that it is children who are open to the wonders of the world and can accept incomprehensible logic without requiring proof. Perhaps this is why Jesus insisted on having faith like a child because that is when we understand and accept more easily and openly. And this is part of the journey L'Engle examines in "The Irrational Season," the third of her Crosswicks Journals series.

This third diary follows L'Engle throughout the liturgical year as she examines her life, past and present, and her faith, matching chapters up with different events on the church calendar, beginning and ending with Advent. L'Engle was always a gifted writer, and fans of hers will appreciate the candor and openness with which she laid herself bare in this work. She openly explores her struggles with faith and occasional bouts of atheism (likened to catching the flu at one point, an apt description), but also how she was always able to come back to the truth of her faith. It is an honest and unflinching look at the struggles of maintaining not only a Christian faith but also a Christian attitude in an ever-changing (mostly for the worse) world. L'Engle combines her thoughts on faith with her thoughts about writing, language, family, music, art, friendship, and much more. It is, perhaps, her most intimate work, and one for which fans of hers or anyone who struggles with similar questions will be thankful for.
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This book follows the church calendar as a format for musings and self discovery. I deeply admire Mrs. L'Engle's genuineness in her writing. She is fully open about her committed relationship with God that none-the-less leaves her pondering many questions about the church, churchianity, and Christianity. This is a book to read slowly in bits and ponder. It is not a novel and while not difficult to read or understand is most definitely not light reading. How she manages to address such things while never once being preachy is a puzzler, but she does. I can't recommend it enough.
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Format: Paperback
I've enjoyed many of Madeleine L'engle's books, this among the best. I was a bit surprised that I liked this one, since L'Engle turns the old rule about autobiographies -- bag limit of one -- on its head, writing yet again about her "non-eventful" life: kindness, love of animals, imagination and scientific curiosity, honest, hard-thought Christian humanism.

Other reviewers have mentioned other things they liked about the book; let me say something about the poems. The first almost scared me off: poems are sometimes a good writer's self-indulgence. (I skip most the poems in Tolkien.) But here they are jewels in the crown. Her poem of the wind and the star (p. 165-6) is magnificent. Unsentimental but hopeful, too, the gritty realism (reminiscent of the biblical Christmas narratives) of the communion poem that begins:

"Come, let us gather round the table.
Light the candles. Steward, pour the wine.
It's dark outside. The streets are noisy
with the scurrying of rats, with shoddy
tarts, shills, thugs, harsh shouting."

This is a diary of a different sort. I read it in the evening, a few pages at a time, a few moments conversation with a kind Christian lady of intellectual integrity to end the day.
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I cannot abide bouillon in a mug, but I’m always a little sorry about that when I read the opening pages of Madeleine L’Engle’s The Irrational Season. She sips from her warm cup, gazes out her two a.m. window at the Hudson River, and begins an Advent reflection that meanders through the liturgical year and the seasons of her life, ending up at her country farmhouse just in time for the Michaelmas daisies.

Although she passed away in 2007 and the four volumes of The Crosswicks Journal series (The Irrational Season is number three) were published in the 1970’s, Madeleine’s musings are timeless. I find myself needing to reread them every so often just to be reminded that there are juicy words like anamnesis and eschaton and pusillanimous and that one could refer to a houseful of neighborhood kids as a “charm of children.” I turn and return to Madeleine L’Engle because her thoughts remind me that there is a Truth that can be expressed in poetry as well as in memoir and that manages to be both orthodox and startling.

On the subject of God — the Creator of a world that now includes “battlefields and slums and insane asylums” — Madeleine expresses both puzzlement and awe. “Why does God treat in such a peculiar way the creatures He loves so much that He sent His own Son to them?” Even so, she affirms that a “no” from God is often a prelude to a better “yes,” and that the “only God who seems to be worth believing in is impossible for mortal man to understand.”

Perhaps, as a story teller herself, she realized that her own life was His to plot.

On marriage and parenting, Madeleine was a delightful mixture of progressive and traditional thought: “A marriage is something which has to be created.
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