• A Light so Lovely

  • The Spiritual Legacy of Madeleine L'Engle, Author of a Wrinkle in Time
  • By: Sarah Arthur
  • Narrated by: Simona Chitescu-Weik
  • Length: 6 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 08-07-18
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Zondervan
  • 4 out of 5 stars (1 rating)

Regular price: $21.67

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Publisher's Summary

Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time has captured the imagination of millions - from literary sensation to timeless classic and now a major motion picture starring Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Storm Reid, and Mindy Kaling. A Light so Lovely tells the story of the woman at the center of it all - her imagination, her faith, her pattern of defying categories, and what listeners today can learn from her legacy. 

Best-selling and beloved author Madeleine L'Engle, Newbery winner for A Wrinkle in Time, was known the world round for her imaginative spirit and stories. She was also known to spark controversy - too Christian for some, too unorthodox for others. Somewhere in the middle was a complex woman whose embrace of paradox has much to say to a new generation today. 

A Light so Lovely paints a vivid portrait of this enigmatic icon's spiritual legacy, starting with her inner world and expanding into fresh reflections of her writing for listeners today. Listen in on intimate interviews with L'Engle's literary contemporaries such as Philip Yancey and Luci Shaw, L'Engle's granddaughter Charlotte Jones Voiklis, and influential fans such as Makoto Fujimura, Nikki Grimes, and Sarah Bessey, as they reveal new layers to the woman behind the stories we know and love. A vibrant, imaginative listen, this book pulls back the curtain to illuminate L'Engle's creative journey, her persevering faith, and the inspiring, often unexpected ways these two forces converged. 

For anyone earnestly searching the space between sacred and secular, miracle and science, faith and art, come and find a kindred spirit and trusted guide in Madeleine - the Mrs. Whatsit to our Meg Murry - as she sparks our imagination anew.

©2018 Sarah Arthur (P)2018 Zondervan

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People are complicated

A Light So Lovely is not a straight biography. It is ‘the spiritual legacy’ of L’Engle. I have read several ‘spiritual biographies’ (CS Lewis, Flannery O’Connor) and it feels like it is more in that genre. A Light So Lovely has a rough sketch of her life, but most of the focus is on her influence on others. Most of the chapters are titled and focus on tensions in L’Engle’s life, a both/and focus instead of an either/or focus. L’Engle wanted to draw the sacred and the secular together, she wanted to see faith and science as different ways to see God, but both as ways to see God. She wanted religion and art to support one another. 

Along the way Arthur complicates the picture that L’Engle draws of herself in her Crosswick Journal memoirs. Her marriage was a fairly close one, but Hugh and their relationship was somewhat idealized in the Two Part Invention and one quote suggests that her vision of there marriage was in part 'an invention’. There is a good exploration of L’Engle’s tendency to fictionalize reality as she says she is doing in the Circle of Quiet, but also does in other places without saying so. 

There is a real admiration of L’Engle from Arthur and from the whole host of people that were interviewed, but this is not hagiography, L’Engle is clearly flaws with blindspots and sin. 

If I have a complaint, it is that there is too much repetition in the titles of the commenters. I listened to this on audiobook, and by the fourth time Jeffery Overstreet or Lucy Shaw or Philip Yancey or Sarah Bessey was introduced I just needed their name, not who they were. Most of the people interviews I was aware of, many are people that I am casually acquainted with via twitter or facebook or their own books. 

A Light So Lovely is probably more interesting for people that are authors or artists or book lovers. These are L’Engle’s people. Those that not only love a good story, but love L’Engle’s influence and are probably already aware of how much she has influenced the conversation about art and the arts within the church. 

I am still looking for a fuller straight biography of L’Engle. I would like to see more about those smaller details. But I also believe that I will be re-reading A Light So Lovely again, because while biography is important to me, spiritual influence is probably more important. L’Engle was flawed. She was human. She was not a perfect mother, wife, author or Christian. But she was serious about her faith and someone that I think we can learn much from as a Christian in her inperfections. 

A Light So Lovely also makes me want to just sit down and read more of L'Engle's books, which I think is a sign of a good biography. I am thankful that virtually all of L'Engle's books are still in print and that new ebook and audiobook editions are being produced to keep them in print. 

3 of 3 people found this review helpful