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Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of…

Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices (edition 2012)

by Leonard S. Marcus

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Title:Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices
Authors:Leonard S. Marcus
Info:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2012), Hardcover, 384 pages
Collections:Your library, Review for SA, Review copies
Tags:read, nonfiction, biography, ARC, 2012review, 3.75/5

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Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L'Engle in Many Voices by Leonard S. Marcus



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I gave up after the intro and two interviews with family members. Not my cup of tea. ( )
  joeydag | Jul 23, 2015 |
It was interesting.

In the beginning, probably until the 3/4 mark, I felt I was getting to know L'Engle, but then she began to unravel. It was as if Marcus saved those who were a) more critical of her as well as b) didn't actually know her well for the last quarter of the book.

I began to want to yell at each of them that none of us are saints: who are we to object to L'Engle's very human feet of clay? ( )
  kaulsu | Aug 19, 2013 |
This book was so strange. It's a collection of interviews of people who knew Madeleine L'Engle at various points in her life. I came away from it discomfited- feeling like I'd been to a party where everyone was talking behind her back. It just felt unclean somehow- and not because the gossip is bad or damning, because on the whole it's quite positive. ( )
  satyridae | Apr 5, 2013 |
Madeleine L’Engle is, I would imagine, a somewhat popular author. However, in today’s day of boy wizards and sparkly vampires, it’s rare that you’ll find a younger reader who knows just who L’Engle is.

However, for the rest of us, who grew up immersed in fantasy stories written by devout theists, L’Engle is almost as familiar as Lewis or Tolkien.

In Listening for Madeleine, Leonard S. Marcus presents a series of interviews with people who were influenced through their respective relationships with L’Engle. Each person tells of the slice of their own life that intersected with the slice of L’Engle’s life, giving a close-up view of one person’s life in so many tiny bites.

For the most part, these interviews were flattering to L’Engle, toting her impressive presence, or her role as a mentor, mother, or other respected figure. Very few of the interviewers had anything bad to say, and those bad things were often nicely sandwiched between showering adoration.

Ultimately, Listening provides an excellent biography of such an unusual author (but what authors aren’t these days?), providing a chorus of voices that mostly reinforce, but sometimes contradict, like any story told by multiple narrators is oft to do.

While it is a delightful read, it certainly only is as much to those who wish to see the person behind the name “L’Engle,” and as such, may not appeal to all readers (especially if you’re unfamiliar with L’Engle) or even all fans (especially if you don’t like peeking into your favorite authors’ lives). I think I’m both of those things, though, so I enjoyed it. ( )
  aethercowboy | Jan 28, 2013 |
Reviewed in Shelf Awareness for Readers, 12/4/2012: http://www.shelf-awareness.com/ar/readers/2012-12-04/listening_for_madeleine:_a_... ( )
  Florinda | Dec 5, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374298971, Hardcover)

Writer. Matriarch. Mentor. Friend. Icon.

Madeleine L'Engle is perhaps best recognized as the author of A Wrinkle in Time, the enduring milestone work of fantasy fiction that won the 1963 John Newbery Medal for excellence in children's literature and has enthralled millions of readers for the past fifty years. But to those who knew her well, L'Engle was much more besides: a larger-than-life persona, an inspiring mentor, a strong-willed matriarch, a spiritual guide, and a rare friend. In Listening for Madeleine, the renowned literary historian and biographer Leonard S. Marcus reveals Madeleine L'Engle in all her complexity, through a series of incisive interviews with the people who knew her most intimately. Vivid reminiscences of family members, colleagues, and friends create a kaleidoscope of keen insights and snapshop moments that help readers to understand the many sides of this singularly fascinating woman.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:05:38 -0400)

"A book of interviews with people who knew Madeleine L'Engle, author of the children's classic A WRINKLE IN TIME, in the many facets of her life"--

(summary from another edition)

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