Saturday, November 11, 2017
Well, this is an interesting novel. Ilsa was L’Engle’s second novel, published in 1946 and has until recently, been out of print for 60 years. Now, for fans of Madeleine L’Engle, I’m sure you’re interested. She was a singular talent. I had the privilege of meeting her once, and what an incredible lady! (not to mention, an incredible talent). She is gone too soon, though it’s been ten years already.
But she does live on in her many, many published works. Ilsa is a lesser known story, and probably for good reason. While it does not follow her usual positive themes about family, faith, and overcoming together under adversity, this story does carry the same ethereal quality that is often woven into her stories, the perfectly described places, and the interesting, quirky characters.
While the story is perhaps not as satisfying as some of her others, it will please those who love her. And I do love her. Her words are always worth reading because she applied a very special ability to understand the human heart, and to comprehend the complexities of family relationships as they face difficult odds and unpleasant personalities.
She’s worth reading because she was a woman of deep faith while also a women deeply committed to the arts and her family. Her mother was a pianist, her father, a writer. She married an actor and wrote prolifically throughout her life, despite a discouraging number of rejections. She almost gave up at one point, and thank goodness she didn’t, because A Wrinkle in Time was the next book she published, and that after at least 30 rejections.
The woman had pluck, class, and a creative mind that never seemed to stop.