From The Beloved Author Of A Wrinkle In Time Comes A Deeply Personal, Genre Bending Short Story Collection That Transcends Generational Divides And Reminds Readers That Hope, Above All, Can Transform Suffering Into The Promise Of JoyThis Powerful Collection Of Short Stories Traces An Emotional Arc Inspired By Madeleine L Engle S Early Life And Career, From Her Lonely Childhood In New York To Her Life As A Mother In Small Town Connecticut In A Selection Of Eighteen Stories Discovered By One Of L Engle S Granddaughters, We See How L Engle S Personal Experiences And Abiding Faith Informed The Creation Of Her Many Cherished Works Some Of These Stories Have Never Been Published Others Were Refashioned Into Scenes For Her Novels And Memoirs Almost All Were Written In The S And S, From Madeleine S College Years Until Just Before The Publication Of A Wrinkle In Time From Realism To Science Fiction To Fantasy, There Is Something For Everyone In This Magical Collection Instagram Twitter Facebook PinterestDNF p.54 Like most kids, I read A WRINKLE IN TIME when I was young and I really, really loved it Not just because it was an intellectual fantasy that didn t talk down to its readers but because the heroine was bespectacled like I was YAAAASS.I was really excited to receive a copy of THE MOMENT OF TENDERNESS, which is a collection of L Engle s earlier stories from the 40s and 50s that predate A WRINKLE IN TIME Many of them have never been published before and honestly, I kind of see why A lot of these seem really sloppy and the endings of two that I read were so terrible that they were like non endings.L Engle has written realistic contemporary YA, like A RING OF ENDLESS LIGHT and TROUBLING A STAR, and I have read and liked those, so the reason I disliked this short story collection wasn t because it wasn t like A WRINKLE IN TIME It was because I perceived them to be poorly written unfinished stories.I think real hardcore L Engle fans might enjoy this because it shows the development of her work and gives you a taste of what her writing was like as a young woman But if you re reading these for the quality of the work, don t You would be much better off reading her later stuff instead, because this body of work just doesn t have the mainstream appeal that her later, mature works did.YMMV but I wasn t happy with this one at all Sadness Thanks to the publisher for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review 1.5 to 2 out of 5 stars As a child, A WRINKLE IN TIME by MADELEINE L ENGLE was probably my favorite book I can t even count how many times I read it THE MOMENT OF TENDERNESS is an absolute treasure of short stories compiled by L ENGLE s granddaughter She published the early works of L ENGLE in somewhat chronological order so that you can see the progression of the author s writing Even though the first ones are rough, they immediately transport me Similar to Judy Blume, L ENGLE just GETS how to communicate the thoughts, fears and insecurities of adolescent girls This book is wonderful and has inspired me to go back and collect the other works of L ENGLE that I haven t read TBH I didn t see any need to read anything other than A Wrinkle in Time until now. Received this book as part of the Vine Program.L Engle has always been one of my favorite writers Ever since I picked up A Ring of Endless Light as a pre teen and fell into a world so sad and wonderful and poignant that it changed me It s a book that I ve returned to often and I always get some kind of new meaning from it But enough about that book, let s talk about this one.This was published after L Engle s death When her granddaughter found some of her old stories stored away They are small blurbs, vignettes, short stories, nothing fully done into a book And all were written, except for one, before her first commercial success, A Wrinkle in Time It was neat to see the original tone of her writing I have grown accustomed to in these stories They were vastly different themes, in a way, from L Engle s books More depressing, somber in tone, mature in subject, sometimes there isn t a feeling of completion L Engle s strong point has always been dialogue, and that s reflected in these The stories aren t so much about what the people are doing, but rather what they re talking about.The lack of completion or cliff hanger like endings of the stories was the hardest part for me I wanted so badly for some of them to keep going so I knew what happened to the characters, and how it ended Still, I think for anyone who is a fan of her writing, who has gone on an adventure through one of her books, or who has waxed philosophical these have a religious tone to them but in a very approachable way over her musings, this is a great book to get into It manages to express a lot of emotions in just a few short blips of writing.Review by M Reynard 2020 I name Madeleine as my favorite author or less out of habit I m not as gaga for her as I was in middle and high school But even so, there was no chance I wouldn t pick up this collection of short stories, most of them previously unpublished Overall, it s a good, though not great, collection Its strength for me lies in its breadth of genres typical L Engle philosophical talk science fiction fantasy coming of age slice of life Its greatest weakness, of course, is Madeleine s typical heavy handedness in her morals, and the ways in which some of the stories gloss over too much or end too suddenly This may be because they were unedited and perhaps unfinished, though even two that were published, Madame, Or and Please Wear Your Rubbers, have this problem It s a good book for exactly the only people who will pick it up L Engle fans who will read anything they can of hers, and who can put up with her sometimes repetitive plots and ideas Overall 3.5 5, rounding to 4 Obligatory comment about Goodreads needing half stars.Story specific summaries reviews The Birthday A concept that was recycled, but only in summary, in Camilla my least favorite L Engle book I m pretty sure a doctor offering to share his birthday with a child was revisited elsewhere too maybe in one of the Austin books It begins with a child s realization that everyone has their own lives and thoughts, and continues as she visits her mother in the hospital the next day, on her birthday I found a lot of it tedious.Gilberte Must Play Bach A pretty good story overall, though I m not quite clear on where she was going with it A girl s mother is unhappily playing Bach, so she goes for a walk with her alcoholic father The main thing that got under my skin was yet another instance of Madeleine s obsession with people playing Bach when they re upset I get that incorporating autobiographical details was kind of her thing, but doing it so repetitively gets annoying, and it s especially frustrating since she clearly assumed throughout her career that readers were interested in classical music, or that they should be if they weren t I m not, and I needn t be The Mountains Shall Stand Forever Reused almost verbatim in The Small Rain I m honestly not sure why it was even included here It s the scene where Katherine here, Ellen writes her father asking to leave the boarding school, and it comes back to haunt her when he instead writes to the headmistress It s one of the unhappiest scenes in the novel for me, and on its own it doesn t really say anything, just an expression of misery.Summer Camp An okay story about a girl being bullied at summer camp and a counselor who tries to help her before quitting her job I think the issue for me with all of the stories so far is that they kind of end in medias res, and without definitive endings they re just unfulfilling.White in the Moon the Long Road Lies I think this one, about a young woman preparing to leave her hometown for a teaching job, is really lovely Partly, I m sure, because I m from an awfully similar town albeit in the upper Midwest rather than the South , and because I had some experiences quite like Selina s But it also has nice imagery, and doesn t feel too self conscious the way Madeleine sometimes can.Madame, Or This is one of those deliberately vague stories I m not fond of, about a young man visiting his younger sister in a group home finishing school for the arts that I think is a cover for a brothel And I think his sister has told him she s a sex worker, but the rest of the family doesn t know Meanwhile, she pretends to the rest of the girls that he s her boyfriend rather than her brother when will The White Stripes for some reason, I think to fit in better and or give her a firewall against her johns Or maybe just because she s an actor and is curating a lie of a life the way she wishes it were As you can tell, I m still not sure I properly understand it At first I thought the gimmick was that the sister had dementia It s interesting, but since I don t like the genre, I didn t enjoy it.One Day in Spring A slice of life story about a young woman who gets a place in a summer theatre company Of course, this being Madeleine, we couldn t get much further into the book without there being theatre And from here on out, it s a running theme It s insubstantive, but nice Similar to The Small Rain in some ways, but a lot lighter Charlotte, Madeleine s granddaughter and literary executor, notes in her introduction that it was reused in The Joys of Love, but I don t recall it from there, maybe because it s different enough, maybe just because I m not as familiar with Joys as some of her other books.Prelude to the First Night Alone An actor deals with his partner leaving him for a friend as she moves out of their shared apartment Obviously the situation recalls the triangle in The Small Rain, albeit gender swapped, but it doesn t feel any unoriginal than the rest of Madeleine s canon, given her tendency to reuse lines and situations and the occasional entire scene A little hifalutin, but I liked it.Please Wear Your Rubbers A teacher who s lost her job decides to take a two day vacation away from her needy actor sister while trying to break into theatre herself It s an odd little story, and one that I think I would have liked if it had been fleshed out better.A Room in Balti A nonfiction nonfiction story recounting an incident from Madeleine s own acting days when she and a friend struggled to find a hotel that would take them in with her dog It s fine, but seems kind of useless on its own The introduction notes it s reused in Two Part Invention, which I ve never read, but I can imagine it fitting in better there as one of Madeleine s lengthy asides.Julio at the Party Another slice of life story about a couple that throws a party for their leftist poet friend, where he fights with their reactionary right wing friend It felt very L Engle in terms of characterization, but the setup and plot seem modern, in almost a Barbara Kingsolver kind of way The ending is great it s a shock ending, but one where you can look back and see the foreshadowing leading up to it that didn t seem like foreshadowing at the time, which is a technique I love Charlotte mentions in the introduction that it s part of an unpublished novel Madeleine wrote, and if this is any indication, I hope Charlotte co publish the rest of the novel as well.The Foreign Agent A rambling story of a girl who falls in love with her mother s literary agent The almost stream of consciousness writing style was way too much for me, and I couldn t even get halfway through That being said, I appeciate it having a character who prefers the city to the country, which is a rarity in fiction It also has a great line I think my mother puts too much of her energies into creating me And I want to create myself Ironic, since by all accounts Madeleine had a tendency to rewrite her family s history to please herself.The Moment of Tenderness A woman in a small rural town finds herself in love with the town doctor I liked this one it was sweet, and unusual in its tacit endorsement of Stella s feelings, yet it stopped short of actual adultery.The Foreigners The part of A Circle of Quiet about a snooty couple that moves to the small town where Madeleine and her family lives, and whose house ultimately burns down Again, I m not sure why it was reprinted here, given that it s 1 the same exact story that already appeared in Circle, and 2 nonfiction.The Fact of the Matter More nonfiction, or at least it s presented as such, in which Madeleine tries to help an older woman and ends up encountering a demon It s a good read, but even as someone who s spiritual I have a very difficult time believing it s true perhaps all the for knowing of Madeleine s tendency to fudge her nonfiction.Poor Little Saturday A teenage boy in the South befriends a witch and her teenage ward, and their menagerie of wild animals I really enjoyed this one and wish it were a full length novel, because the characters are wonderful, and there s so much detail she could ve gone into with the story There s a line where the main character says, In the long run, the only reason I have had a life of my own is because of her, and I so wish we got to learn why he says that, and what happens in the run of time that s leapt over with a single paragraph in which they become friends.That Which Is Left A man returns home to find his bedridden mother is nearly blind, his father has dementia, and his older sister is struggling to maintain their home It has a definite surreal flavor Charlotte characterizes him in the introduction as an unreliable narrator and selfish, and while the second is definitely true, I got the feeling that he isn t so much an unreliable narrator as understandably confused by what he encounters Regardless, it s a sort of interesting story about a situation we don t often hear about, but I ve never been huge on stories about unlikeable main characters.A Sign for a Sparrow A post apocalyptic sci fi story in which the main character leaves behind his wife and newborn child to explore another potentially habitable planet, all of which is essentially a vehicle for Madeleine s religious and philosophical contemplations I couldn t finish it I found it overly heavy and, well, philosophical.I received an eARC of this book from the publisher. This book will be of interest mostly to die hard fans Some of what s in here will be familiar to those who have read most of her books, since several of the pieces ended up being incorporated into either her novels The Small Rain, Camilla or nonfiction A Circle of Quiet, Two Part Invention The Story of a Marriage Definitely don t come to this collection expecting any major revelations, but a few of the stories do stand out My own favorites were The Fact of the Matter, Summer Camp, and the title story The last story, A Sign for a Sparrow, is the only one that holds any resemblance to her Time series, and yet it was by far my least favorite heavy handed moral posturing with no character development whatsoever Unfortunately, the lack of memorable characters is a problem throughout There is a sameness and artificiality to most of these voices that gets pretty grating at times This isn t the first that I ve noticed this weakness in her writing, but I fear that having seen it so pronounced in these lesser stories will only make it stand out all the when I reread her better work Sometimes there are good reasons that some stories by even the greatest of writers should remain unpublished And yet There are certainfeelings tones moods evoked in some of these stories A kind of compassion and hope and yes, tenderness that appeals to the part of me that will always be a huge Madeleine L Engle fan And while I would have liked to have seen information about the origin of each story e.g., for the stories that have been published before, a citation page that lists the original publisher and publication date , I appreciated the forward by her granddaughter very much, and found myself flipping back to it often for context Note I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher. I have not read much by Madeleine L Engle, but I was drawn by the descriptions of these stories I did find it helpful to read the introduction by her granddaughter She gave a good overview of the stories, explaining that they are in roughly chronological order, which I found interesting as I could see the development of her talent Also, there are many that stem from autobiographical themes I have to admit that not all the stories appealed to me, but the ones that did The Birthday, White in the Moon the Long Road Lies, A Room in Balti, and A Sign for a Sparrow, among others earn this five stars Her stories abound with well drawn characters, surprises, and unexpected endings I highly recommend this.I received a free copy of this ARC from Vine in exchange for my honest review. This book took me longer than I expected to get through Like most short story collections, there were stories I wanted of, stories I couldn t keep up with, stories that puzzled me, and stories that made me pause and digest a while I loved Madeleine L Engle s Time Quintet as a kid and revisit them every so often I ve never read any of her adult works and Moment of Tenderness definitely falls into the adult category Her writing style always appeals and this book had that nostalgic flavour, even though the subject matter was very much mature The Introduction, by her granddaughter, gave depth to the backstory on the stories and their arrangement Definitely worth a read. ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review It s always exciting to read or hear something new from an author or artist that was unearthed or not released until after their death A lot of great timeless stories, usually told by a female narrator and tending to be presented in order of the main character s age I am very much a proponent of story and essay collections being very deliberately organized, and this one satisfied me This is a collection of short stories pulled together by Madeleine L Engle s granddaughter since sorting through her grandmother s papers after Madeleine s death in 2007 They were written prior to the 1962 publication of A Wrinkle in Time There is quite an assortment of genres.I am not a huge short story reader, but I did enjoy these. Lovely, just lovely A collection of short stories Lyrical, and memorable.
- 304 pages
- The Moment of Tenderness
- Madeleine L'Engle
- 07 July 2019 Madeleine L'Engle