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Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices Hardcover – November 13, 2012
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From School Library Journal
Writer, matriarch, mentor, friend, and icon, L'Engle was a complex person, ably presented here through the voices of family, friends, and acquaintances. A children's literature star, as author of the Newbery-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels as well as the Austin family series, L'Engle was also a committed Christian, a spiritual guide to many, and librarian and writer-in-residence at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City. Marcus has wisely chosen not to try to simplify his portrait of this complicated woman, about whom many have very strong, sometimes contradictory, memories and feelings. "L'Engle tended carefully to departmentalize her vast and many-faceted universe," he explains. After an introductory summary, he presents more than 50 deftly edited interviews, organized by the role she played. The result is more like Hokusai's collection of views of Mt. Fuji, always with the subject in focus but also revealing a great deal of the surroundings. It is this rich addition that makes this biography a standout. Readers who may not have thought they needed or wanted to know quite so much about L'Engle's life will be charmed.-Kathleen Isaacs, Children's Literature Specialist, Pasadena, MDα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
That indefatigable interlocutor Marcus, who has seemingly interviewed everyone who is anyone in the world of children’s literature, now directs his attention to the late Madeleine L’Engle and his questions to a host of those who knew her. The book is divided into six sections: Madeleine in the Making, Writer, Matriarch, Mentor, Friend, and Icon. Best known for her Newbery Medal–winning and groundbreaking A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle was also a memoirist and a writer of adult nonfiction, much of it spiritual in nature. This aspect of her distinguished work might have made another section of the book but, as it is, remains a leitmotif throughout. If the work is a focus, what of the writer herself? The interviews are chockablock with adjectives and phrases that create this portrait in many voices. She appears to have been stately, formidable, scary, regal, noble, a grande dame, a classic presence, glamorous but also occasionally otherworldly, and, by many accounts, generous, charming, and gracious, especially to her friends and many mentees. That she was clearly a complex and fascinating person makes this a fascinating book and an excellent introduction to both L’Engle and her work. --Michael Cart
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Top Customer Reviews
As a result, she becomes many people in this very interesting book.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
we are actually "listening for Madeleine.Read more