cover image Two-Part Invention

Two-Part Invention

Madeleine L'Engle. Farrar Straus Giroux, $18.95 (240pp) ISBN 978-0-374-28020-8

Since her debut with The Small Rain in 1945, L'Engle has continued to write critically acclaimed books for adults and young readers, including a Newbery Medal-winner, A Wrinkle in Time. But this story of her marriage surpasses her best work so far. Starting with accounts of her childhood, she describes her life as a young woman in Manhattan, attracted to the theater and landing a job as an understudy touring with Eva Le Gallienne and Hugh Franklin. L'Engle and Franklin married in 1946, creating a bond that was broken ony by his death 40 years later. As Franklin's roles (with the Lunts, Ethel Barrymore, Maurice Evans, etc.) kept him absent frequently, there were problems, especially when they became parents. Yet most crises were viewed in perspective, especially when the couple gathered with children, grandchildren and friends at Crosswick, the old house in Connecticut that remains L'Engle's ``icon.'' As expected, she writes beautifully here, sharing funny, exuberant and trying moments of the ``two-part invention.'' Reading the book is a profound spiritual experience. (Nov.)