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A Live Coal In The Sea by Madeleine L'Engle

A Live Coal In The Sea

by Madeleine L'Engle

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482933,307 (3.72)5
A woman must look after her mother's son when the mother is killed. The child is the product of an extramarital affair, something no one tells him and complications arise when he finds out. A family drama by the author of Certain Women.



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Lovely story — I definitely enjoyed it — but I think Madeleine L'Engle has written better.
  csoki637 | Nov 27, 2016 |
Sequel to the teenage novel 'Camilla', although this one is decidedly for adults. Camilla, who was in her teens in the first book, is now a grandmother in her fifties and also a prestigious astronomer.

However most of the story takes place in the past, in a series of flashbacks. The story is held together by conversations between Camilla and her granddaughter. It's cleverly written so as to introduce a little of the story at the time, though perhaps a little confusing at first. There are tangential comments about astronomy and number theory, but Camilla’s work mostly takes a back seat to her family life.

The characters are mostly three-dimensional and believable, and I found myself growing particularly fond of Camilla’s in-laws. It wasn’t a difficult read and I finished it in just a couple of days. Overall I thought it a satisfying sequel. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jul 30, 2016 |
Madeleine L'Engle has always been one of my favorite authors. Her range extends far beyond her most commonly known works such as a Wrinkle in Time. This book is written for older teens and adults. When Camilla's (from the book Camilla) granddaughter Raffi begins asking questions about her family history, both grandmother and granddaughter are forced to face some unpleasant truths. This book explores themes of loyalty and faith. L'Engle, as usual, rejects easy answers, and grapples with the messy issues of finding faith in the midst of the psychological pain that often characterizes our experience. As a result her work appeals to those who are thinking spiritual seekers and are not satisfied with easy answers. ( )
  Marared9 | Feb 5, 2012 |
Beautifully written. The language is gorgeous. Dysfunctional families aren't my favorite thing to read about, which colored my rating. The ending is abrupt, as others have alluded to. I definitely didn't see it coming.

Overall, I enjoyed it for the quality of the writing, but I wouldn't read it again. ( )
  sarahjbray | Oct 13, 2009 |
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The reception was held in the president's house.
But all the wickedness in the world which man may do or think is no more to the mercy of God than a live coal dropped in the sea. William Langland. p.167
He who would do good to another must do it in minute particulars. General good is the plea of the scoundrel, hypocrite, and flatterer, for Art and Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars. Blake. p.186
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