Listening for Madeleine by Leonard S. Marcus

madeleineThroughout her long writing career, Madeleine L’Engle made the acquaintance and friendship of many.  Before she was ever published, she turned the heads of relatives and friends alike with her uniqueness.

Listening to Madeleine is a collection of essays from her numerous contacts.  What made the author of A Wrinkle in Time tick?  Through these memories, you get Madeleine in all her guts and glory.  She was a writer very much in control of her writing voice, and someone who wrote for adult and the younger reader.  A free-spirited person, she nonetheless was religious and affiliated herself with the Episcopal church early on.

The content is arranged in sections – L’Engle as writer, matriarch, mentor, and friend.  The first section, entitled “Madeleine in the Making”, concerns her childhood and college years.  This was the most eye-opening to me – you find out the background of her parents.  I didn’t realize that her mother’s side had such a strong connection to Jacksonville, Florida.  Her father had strong New York roots; both parents came from privilege, if not money, and Madeleine had a lively if disjointed upbringing.

This is a good collection of reminiscences, although I think you have to be a hardcore fan of L’Engle to appreciate it.  

(William Hicks, Information Services)




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