I know you darlings will all join me in mourning the passing of Madeleine L'Engle -- "Wrinkle in Time" author, thoughtful Christian, and tall lanky cutie. Her obit in the NYT is pretty nice, and I note with gratification that it's their most popular story today. I read a lot of Madeleine's memoirs around about middle school and found them hugely inspiring. She was a smart woman who never talked down to her readers and wasn't afraid to wrestle with her faith on the page. She also wrote directly about how awkward and clumsy she could be, which was a great thing for me at age 13.
Thinking about her oeuvre today, I realize how long it's been since I read anything of hers besides "Wrinkle," which stays on my shelf & gets reread occasionally. Madeleine could be all over the map - "A Wind in the Door" is particularly bizarre, and "Certain Women," one of her last adult novels, was a real snooze. But "The Small Rain" is just a lovely book, sort of a modern "Jane Eyre," and "The Other Side of the Sun" is a decent Southern racial drama. I also dig "A Swiftly Tilting Planet." The New Yorker had an interesting profile of her in 2004 - unfortunately it's not archived online - in which her family members are variously angry and dismissive about her memoirs. Still, she wrote great stuff. She was sensitive yet tough. She kicked ass and took names. I mourn her.
Yesterday a thoughtful colleague, with whom I had never discussed Madeleine's work, sent me a nice note with her condolences; she was sad about the news and knew I would be too. I just loved that.
My brother also tried to call me when he heard the news, but didn't realize I had changed my cellphone number (last year) and called some random guy in Ohio by mistake. The random guy's feelings on the passing of Madeleine L'Engle are not known.