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  • Genine Babakian

Madeleine L'Engle's Literary Gift from the Grave

Few things are more thrilling than the release of a new book from a beloved author, long gone. My heart skipped when I read about a new release this weekend from Madeleine L’Engle, whose books shaped my childhood.

L’Engle died in 2007, but thanks to the many unpublished stories she left behind (and one intrepid granddaughter, who collected them), forever fans of A Wrinkle In Time and other L’Engle epics can look forward to The Moment of Tenderness collection.

These previously unpublished works were written in the 1940s and '50s, before her award winning young adult novel, A Wrinkle in Time, came out. “The stories are more postcards from a writer’s beginnings and her artistic, spiritual and emotional evolution than full-fledged narratives in their own right,” says the New York Times book review on The Moment of Tenderness.

I’ll take it!

What better way to honor L’Engle’s memory than by delving into her early stories which, arranged chronologically, reveal her own evolution as a writer. In its pages I’ll look for the ancestors of Meg Murry, the brilliant, unpopular – and unapologetic – protagonist from A Wrinkle in Time. At a time when young adult fiction did not offer a steady diet of mighty girls, L’Engle was a master at writing strong female characters – one of the reasons why I continue to admire her work.

Of course, I also have a personal reason why I remain an enduring L'Engle fan. I’ve already written about it here. Earn the respect and admiration of a 7th grader, and you have it for life.

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