Offsite Review: Listening to Madeleine by Leonard Marcus

Listening for Madeleine: A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices I was talking to a friend last night.  He was talking about he new found love of comic books since he started reading them on his iPad.  I have read a lot of comic books.  I just was not a part of a community that read them, I didn’t have the money to buy a ton of them and while I love superheroes, I got my superheroes from cartoons.

So I missed out in the movement toward full length graphic novels that happened in the 90s.  But the conversation made me decide to buy the new graphic novel of A Wrinkle in Time.  Buying the graphic novel lead me to Listening to Madeleine, a recent biography of Madeleine L’Engle.  I searched for some reviews and came up with the one below.

But after reading some more reviews at Goodreads and other places, what became clear is that while this is interesting, it is not a complete biography and Madeleine L’Engle needs someone to write a full biography of her.

Still Listening for Madeleine looks like it is worth reading if you are a fan.

Mr. Marcus has hit on a great way to do biographies: Interview myriad people who knew the subject and let them tell their stories about her.

In this case, they talk about author Madeleine L’Engle, best known for her Newbery award-winner A Wrinkle in Time, but who also was a prolific writer of fiction and nonfiction for youth and adults. Combined, the 51 contributors justify the book’s subtitle—“a portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in many voices.”

All but one of the many voices—maybe one and a half—either loved, admired, or were bemused by this complex woman, who died in 2007. Oddly, the one voice we don’t hear is that of Mr. Marcus, even though he interviewed Madeleine for a different project back in 2002. He gives us a brief sketch of that encounter in his Introduction but otherwise uses that space to outline her life story. Then he steps back and lets others fill in the blanks.

continue reading the rest of the review at NY Journal of Books

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