Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage (The Crosswicks Journal, Book 4)

by Madeleine L'Engle

Paperback, 1989

Status

Available

Description

In the final memoir of her Crosswicks Journals, the author of A Wrinkle in Time paints an intimate portrait of her forty-year marriage. A long-term marriage has to move beyond chemistry to compatibility, to friendship, to companionship.   As Newbery Medal winner Madeleine L'Engle describes a relationship characterized by compassion, respect, and growth, as well as challenge and conflict, she beautifully evokes the life she and her husband, actor Hugh Franklin, built and the family they cherished.   Beginning with their very different childhoods, L'Engle chronicles the twists and turns that led two young artists to New York City in the 1940s, where they were both pursuing careers in theater. While working on a production of Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, they sparked a connection that would endure until Franklin's death in 1986. L'Engle recalls years spent raising their children at Crosswicks, the Connecticut farmhouse that became an icon of family, and the support she and her husband drew from each other as artists struggling--separately and together--to find both professional and personal fulfillment.   At once heartfelt and heartbreaking, Two-Part Invention is L'Engle's most personal work--the revelation of a marriage and the exploration of intertwined lives inevitably marked by love and loss.   This ebook features an illustrated biography of Madeleine L'Engle including rare images from the author's estate.… (more)

Publication

HarperOne (1989), Edition: Reprint, 240 pages

Rating

(140 ratings; 4.1)

User reviews

LibraryThing member eba1999
Madeleine L'Engle has been one of my favorite authors since I read A Wrinkle in Time when I was about nine or ten. This memoir of her marriage is poignant, moving, and profound. L'Engle's story time-travels between past and present: she remembers the challenges of weaving two artistic careers into
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the fabric of family life--or maybe vice-versa; and she tenderly and painfully relates the last chapter of her marriage during her husband's illness. L'Engle's spiritual insights and reflections on love and life add value beyond the telling of the story of a remarkable marriage.
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LibraryThing member MrsLee
The story of her 40 year marriage to Hugh Franklin, Madeleine L'Engle describes her feelings and actions when it is discovered that her beloved has cancer. She remembers her early life and how she met him. This is a very honest portrayal of grief, loss, pain, love and faith.
I don't know if I agree
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with all of her conclusions about God, but I think her pondering on the will of God, the purpose of God and the consequences of our actions are spot on. I thank God she was able to write this story.
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LibraryThing member Motherofthree
This book captures my attention more so than most modern day novels. I find myself so uninterested in great portions of today's literature; so it's always refreshing to find something that satisfies. I'm reluctant to comment on L'Engle's writings, for my comment's will be inadequate in revealing
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the impact of her writings.

I like her writing style. It wanders, much like the mind does at time. Yet she still ties it together, so one doesn't feel they are reading a bunch of random thoughts.

The last quarter of the book was painful, and rightfully so. It dealt with the dying of her husband, and the hope he wasn't really dying. She exposed some of the invasiveness of medical technology even at that time. It caused me to wonder "do we really know what normal dying looks like anymore? (if there is such a thing)" You know much as we consider, "do we really know what normal aging looks like anymore?"

I like her books and need to keep reading them.
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LibraryThing member sedeara
On the surface, this book covers a lot of the same ground as "The Year of Magical Thinking" -- a wife looks back on her long-lived marriage when she's faced with the death of her husband. Like TYOMT, it even contains a lot of "name-dropping," mainly from within the theater world but also within the
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literary one, although most of the references in both books were totally lost on me.

Still, this book was infinitely more moving to me, probably because Madeleine L'Engle maintains a certain humility through it all, whereas Joan Didion's tone came across as self-important. There's a "down-to-earthness" about Madeleine that makes her story very relateable -- yes, she was married to a man who became a quite recognized actor, and yes her book became a classic of science fiction and children's literature, but she talks very little about those aspects of their lives. Instead, she dwells on the hardest times, the times that forged the marriage most of all--the times when there was no money, when their work kept them apart for weeks or months at a time, when they weren't sure where they belonged, when Madeleine suffered years of rejections on her writing and the loss of confidence that comes with it. Although at times it felt like she romanticized or aggrandized her marriage, for the most part it felt real, complete with times of admitted anger, loneliness, and alienation. Much of the book was actually written the summer Hugh was dying, since at that time Madeleine had trouble focusing on writing fiction (the same thing happens to me when I'm going through a big transition). So the book has a certain immediacy and intimacy that might have been lost otherwise, and its in these regards that the book really shines. Beyond just being a memoir of marriage, it's also a reflection on faith, and I have a deep admiration for Madeleine L'Engle's spiritual beliefs, and knowing that that which she illustrates in her fiction she also lived in her life.

This wasn't a perfect book; I never felt like I got a really good grasp on what Hugh was like as a person, and I thought the opening section was more drawn out than it needed to be. Still, it's worth sticking with this one -- as long as you have plenty of tissues nearby as you draw toward the end.
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LibraryThing member TimBazzett
TWO-PART INVENTION: THE STORY OF A MARRIAGE is only the second L'Engle book I have read. Regrettably, I didn't like this one much more than I did the other Crosswicks journal. A very touchy and difficult subject, death and dying, so I hesitate to say much about L'Engle's documentation of that of
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her husband, Hugh Franklin, who died of complications from bladder cancer. The book itself, however, seemed formless, meandering and redundant, as L'Engle tried to tell the story of their rather unconventional forty-year marriage even as she still struggled with the enormity of her loss.

A tough subject to tackle, no matter who is telling the story. I felt deep sympathy for L'Engle, but wondered if she should have published this book at all. Anne Roiphe's EPILOGUE or Joyce Carol Oates's A WIDOW'S STORY were both, I think, better-written books on the same subject.
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LibraryThing member ratastrophe
As a confirmed atheist, I find it odd to say that I found this book intensely spiritual; but, that is the truth. It was easy to identify with L'Engle's joy and subsequent loss - and the strength she had in letting go reminds me of the death of my grandfather, when at the end I just wanted him to
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have peace.

A powerful book.
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LibraryThing member mahallett
i liked this. i could see a writer writing this for comfort.
LibraryThing member ellen.w
I don't know if it's a similarity of mind or simply the sheer number of her words that I've read, but Madeleine L'Engle's writing feels like home.

This book is her memoir of her marriage.

"After I had declined to be my Hungarian friend's mistress, I was more than ever convinced that marriage was not
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going to be part of my pattern. I would write, see friends, write, go to the theatre, write, but ultimately I was going to walk alone." (p42)

"Love of music, of sunsets and sea; a liking for the same kind of people; political opinions that are not radically divergent; a similar stance as we look at the stars and think of the marvelous strangeness of this universe -- these are what build a marriage." (p77)

"Our love has been anything but perfect and anything but static. Inevitably there have been times when one of us has outrun the other and has had to wait patiently for the other to catch up. There have been times when we have misunderstood each other, demanded too much of each other, been insensitive to the other's needs. I do not believe there is any marriage where this does not happen. The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over. Sometimes these desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could possibly have been without it." (p100)

"If we are not willing to fail we will never accomplish anything. All creative acts involve the risk of failure. Marriage is a terrible risk. So is having children. So is giving a performance in the theatre, or the writing of a book. Whenever something is completed successfully, then we must move on, and that is again to risk failure." (p173)
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LibraryThing member ellen.w
I don't know if it's a similarity of mind or simply the sheer number of her words that I've read, but Madeleine L'Engle's writing feels like home.

This book is her memoir of her marriage.

"After I had declined to be my Hungarian friend's mistress, I was more than ever convinced that marriage was not
Show More
going to be part of my pattern. I would write, see friends, write, go to the theatre, write, but ultimately I was going to walk alone." (p42)

"Love of music, of sunsets and sea; a liking for the same kind of people; political opinions that are not radically divergent; a similar stance as we look at the stars and think of the marvelous strangeness of this universe -- these are what build a marriage." (p77)

"Our love has been anything but perfect and anything but static. Inevitably there have been times when one of us has outrun the other and has had to wait patiently for the other to catch up. There have been times when we have misunderstood each other, demanded too much of each other, been insensitive to the other's needs. I do not believe there is any marriage where this does not happen. The growth of love is not a straight line, but a series of hills and valleys. I suspect that in every good marriage there are times when love seems to be over. Sometimes these desert lines are simply the only way to the next oasis, which is far more lush and beautiful after the desert crossing than it could possibly have been without it." (p100)

"If we are not willing to fail we will never accomplish anything. All creative acts involve the risk of failure. Marriage is a terrible risk. So is having children. So is giving a performance in the theatre, or the writing of a book. Whenever something is completed successfully, then we must move on, and that is again to risk failure." (p173)
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LibraryThing member nicholasjjordan
3.5 stars. Perhaps the weakest of the Crosswicks books, but still very good.
LibraryThing member JRobinW
In this time when there is so much debate about the meaning of marriage, this book becomes a witness to us all. The love that L'Engle shared with her husband is an inspiration.

Another reason I loved this book so is that in her story, I see the beauty of my life partnership today. We share many of
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the same values of L'Engle and her husband as well as the depth of love and commitment. We are simply not "allowed" to be married even though we share this deep bond and commitment.
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