Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices

Leonard S. Marcus, Author
Leonard S. Marcus. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-29897-5
Reviewed on: 08/27/2012
Release date: 11/13/2012
Paperback - 363 pages - 978-0-374-53420-2
Open Ebook - 384 pages - 978-1-4668-2777-6
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In this insightful biography of beloved children's book author Madeleine L'Engle (A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newberry Medal), Marcus (Minders of Make-Believe) draws upon dozens of interviews with those who knew L'Engle personally and professionally, as well as with representatives of "the thousands of students, teachers, librarians, aspiring writers, neighbors and others who crossed her path." The result is both impressionistic and satisfyingly complex. One topic of concern is the spiritual aspect of L'Engle's work, which often got her books banned. We also get a window into her working habits, which included banging away on her grand piano. One of her editors at FSG recalls that "if you didn't pick your words right, you might end up with a whole new revision on your desk twenty-two minutes later." Throughout, L'Engle appears both remarkably generous and intensely private. For those who read L'Engle during childhood, this book will serve as a valuable companion to the stories they cherish. Photos. Agent: George Nicholson, Sterling Lord Literistic. (Nov.)
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