A Severed Wasp

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Overview

Katherine Forrester Vigneras, in a continuation of her story from The Small Rain, returns to New York City from Europe to retire. Now in her seventies, she encounters an old friend from her Greenwich Village days who, it turns out, is the former Bishop of New York. He asks Katherine to give a benefit concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This leads to new demands on her resources—human, artistic, psychological, and spiritual—that are entirely unexpected.

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1983-11-01 Paperback New NewMendoPower Employment Services will immediately and carefully pack this book in high-quality bubble lined, envelopes. Then we send you a ... confirmation e-mail. We appreciate your business and welcome any questions. Read more Show Less

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Overview

Katherine Forrester Vigneras, in a continuation of her story from The Small Rain, returns to New York City from Europe to retire. Now in her seventies, she encounters an old friend from her Greenwich Village days who, it turns out, is the former Bishop of New York. He asks Katherine to give a benefit concert at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. This leads to new demands on her resources—human, artistic, psychological, and spiritual—that are entirely unexpected.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"I don't know another current American writer who could weave the worlds of music and the international concert stage, the claustrophobic life of a great cathedral close, and aspects of the often threatening street life of New York as Miss L'Engle does."—Edmund Fuller, The Wall Street Journal

"Hours of wonderful, suspenseful, provocative, soul-satisfying entertainment."—Norman Lear

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374517830
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 11/28/1983
  • Pages: 388
  • Lexile: 730L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle's many books include A Wrinkle in Time, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Certain Women. She lives in New York City, where she is writer-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Biography

Madeleine L'Engle Camp was born in New York City and educated in boarding schools in Switzerland and across the United States. A shy, withdrawn child with few friends, she retreated into writing at an early age. She attended Smith College, graduating summa cum laude in 1941. After college, she worked in the New York theatre, where she met her future husband, Hugh Franklin. (Later she would say that they "met in The Cherry Orchard and married during The Joyous Season.") Her first book, The Small Rain (1945), was completed while she was still working as an actress.

After the birth of their first child, Madeleine and her husband moved to rural Connecticut to run a small general store; but in 1959, they returned to New York City with their three children so Hugh Franklin could resume his acting career (For many years, he played Dr. Charles Tyler on the popular television soap opera All My Children.) Although Madeleine wrote steadily during this period, few of her books were published. Then, in 1960, she released her first children's story, Meet the Austins. An affectionate portrait of a close-knit family, the book was named an ALA Notable Children's Book of the year and spawned several bestselling sequels.

Completed in 1960, L'Engle's science fiction YA classic A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by more than two dozen publishers before Farrar, Straus and Giroux finally released it in 1962. Elegant, imaginative, and filled with complex moral themes, the acclaimed Newbery Medal winner tells the story of Meg Murry, a young girl who travels through time with her psychically gifted younger brother to rescue their scientist father from a planet controlled by an evil entity known as the Dark Thing. Throughout her career, L'Engle would return to the Murry family three more times, in A Wind in the Door (1973), A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978), and Many Waters (1986). The Time Quartet, as these four books have come to be called, weaves together elements of theology and quantum physics often assumed to be far too esoteric for children to understand. Yet, it became a true classic of juvenalia. L'Engle explained once, "You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children."

In addition to her YA novels, the prolific writer also penned adult fiction, poems, plays, memoirs, and religious meditations. She served as the longtime librarian and writer-in-residence for the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine. Madeleine L'Engle passed away at a nursing home in Connecticut in 2007.

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    1. Date of Birth:
      1918112
    2. Place of Birth:
      New York, NY
    1. Date of Death:
      September 6, 2007
    2. Place of Death:
      Litchfield, CT
    1. Education:
      Smith College, 1941

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2005

    Wise and unsentimental - L'Engle's best

    Katherine Vigneras, concert pianist and widow of composer Justin Vigneras, returns to New York - the city of her youth - in retirement. She's in her seventies now, enjoying good health despite a few of the usual age-related physical problems, and she's tremendously thankful that she can still keep a routine of daily practice. When she meets an old friend whom she hasn't seen since she was seventeen years old, she has no idea that their renewed connection will draw her into a mystery that is somehow tied to the cathedral where Felix Bodeway was once Bishop of New York. She's simply amazed that the boy she knew could have turned into a clergyman. This thoroughly adult (in the best sense of that word) novel is peopled with characters familiar to L'Engle's readers from her young adult books. I found it fascinating to look at them through a different pair of eyes - those of sophisticated expatriate, septugenarian Katherine. As always, even L'Engle's 'minor' characters reach the page fully fleshed. The novel plays itself out in layers, as each event in Katherine's present day life (her 'new' life of retirement) reminds her of her past. She moves back and forth through time, across the Atlantic and back, and takes the reader along without causing confusion. Writing with this technique takes skill, but it's absolutely necessary when following the thoughts of an elderly protagonist whose work now is to make sense out of the past. To think through everything that she had no time to analyze while she was living it, and to come to terms with everything she's lived long enough to regret. L'Engle's best, in my opinion; and I've been reading L'Engle since I discovered A WRINKLE IN TIME over 40 years ago. Wise and unsentimental, yet brimming with hope and with common human love. Highly recommended, indeed!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2003

    A good story

    I've read most of L'Engle's fiction, and A Severed Wasp contains themes similar to those in all her novels. She weaves an interesting story, but her characters tend to be somewhat unbelievable. Also as in most of her works, the end of the book ties up all loose ends and tops it off with a bow, perhaps too simply. However, she does some good character development and the story line keeps moving without getting dull. I also appriciate the way she plays with time. Those expecting a masterpiece may be disappointed, but those looking for an enjoyable novel will find just that; I recommend it to all L'Engle fans.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2002

    For those who loved The Small Rain

    This novel is the beautiful sequel of The Small Rain, picking up when Katherine Forrester Vigneras is an old woman moving back to her home neighborhood in New York. The story has another immense plot, but weaved into the present day writing, is the tale of events that fills the gap left off from The Small Rain. For all who loved the first book, A Severed Wasp is a must read.

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