A Severed Wasp

A Severed Wasp

Madeleine L'Engle / Oct 24, 2020

A Severed Wasp 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 V

  • Title: A Severed Wasp
  • Author: Madeleine L'Engle
  • ISBN: 9780374517830
  • Page: 323
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 demandKatherine 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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      Posted by:Madeleine L'Engle
      Published :2020-07-16T00:30:26+00:00

    About "Madeleine L'Engle"

      • Madeleine L'Engle

        Madeleine L Engle was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regeneration in The Arm of the Starfish, and so forth Madeleine was born on November 29th, 1918, and spent her formative years in New York City Instead of her school work, she found that she would much rather be writing stories, poems and journals for herself, which was reflected in her grades not the best However, she was not discouraged.At age 12, she moved to the French Alps with her parents and went to an English boarding school where, thankfully, her passion for writing continued to grow She flourished during her high school years back in the United States at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, vacationing with her mother in a rambling old beach cottage on a beautiful stretch of Florida Beach.She went to Smith College and studied English with some wonderful teachers as she read the classics and continued her own creative writing She graduated with honors and moved into a Greenwich Village apartment in New York She worked in the theater, where Equity union pay and a flexible schedule afforded her the time to write She published her first two novels during these years A Small Rain and Ilsa before meeting Hugh Franklin, her future husband, when she was an understudy in Anton Chekov s The Cherry Orchard They married during The Joyous Season.She had a baby girl and kept on writing, eventually moving to Connecticut to raise the family away from the city in a small dairy farm village with cows than people They bought a dead general store, and brought it to life for 9 years They moved back to the city with three children, and Hugh revitalized his professional acting career The family has kept the country house, Crosswicks, and continues to spend summers there.As the years passed and the children grew, Madeleine continued to write and Hugh to act, and they to enjoy each other and life Madeleine began her association with the Cathedral Church of St John the Divine, where she has been the librarian and maintained an office for than thirty years After Hugh s death in 1986, it was her writing and lecturing that kept her going She has now lived through the 20th century and into the 21st and has written over 60 books and keeps writing She enjoys being with her friends, her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren uscmillan author madeleCopyright 2007 Crosswicks, Ltd Madeleine L Engle, President


    1. Wisdom, happiness, freedom and lots of other things are so desirable that we pursue them purely for themselves, though they are only attainable as means or by-products of our other, less tempting goals. They are like unexpected guests who come and go and never stay for long. The more one is trying to take hold of them, the more elusive and annoyed they become. So, when wisdom is the main goal in the story (or life) and everything else is subdued to it, there is a chance of converting a novel int [...]

    2. A very odd and lovely book. For anyone searching for perspective about the world of today, you absolutely must read books written 20, 30, 40, 50, 100 years ago. This book came out in 1982 and at several points in the book people are wishful and wistful for a simpler, safer time. One person complains that kids don't know how to play anymore. All they want are electronics. Sound familiar? No one living in a simpler day and age knows they're living in a simpler day and age. Everyone thinks their ti [...]

    3. This is, by far, my very favorite L'Engle piece. Since she was a family friend, I grew up reading all of her books since they were what I always got for birthdays, Christmas and anniversaries of baptism. As I grew older, I was given books like this one, or A Live Coal in the Sea, and I fell in love all over again. This, more than the others, has been a staple in the readings of my life. I read it over and over again, perpetually amazed at the magic that comes from her words. I feel so at home in [...]

    4. "A Severed Wasp" kept me engaged and I read it quickly. There were certainly some wonderful lines in this book, and continuing Katherine's story is a treat, but I do agree with other reviews that mentioned that at times the soap opera melodrama is heaped on. I read this immediately after devouring "The Small Rain" and enjoyed seeing where the years had taken both L'Engle as a writer and Madame Vigneras as a character both matured and deepened in the 40+ years that passed between the two novels, [...]

    5. This isn't my usual fare, but I'd read other L'Engle books previously and the blurb on the back cover sounded interesting--and goodness am I glad I picked this up. The depth and complexity of the characters are marvellous, and the way their personalities intertwine in the plot is superb. But more than the excellent writing and likeable, human, characters, the mindset (if you will) or perhaps atmosphere of the book is what really drew me in. I loved the wisdom and compassion shown by the characte [...]

    6. One of the great pleasures for me in reading this book is the chapter by chapter unfolding of the petals of a great blossom, the way perspective and points of view shift on astounding plot turns revealing completely new ways of looking at the cast of characters and the rest of the book. And this KEEPS happening thoughout the entire book! To write a review full of spoilers would take away the potential for that pleasure from future readers, so please excuse me if I avoid plot details entirely.Thi [...]

    7. Um, WTF ML'E? This has a bizarre soap opera storyline. So much craziness without a real purpose for it. She clearly has all kinds of things to work out with homosexualityd race. And these to Katherine Forrester Vigneras books are none too feminist-friendly. Yikes and yikes.Here's a quote that reflects a major theme (unhappy jealous women) in the book: "Unhappy women often want to make their sons hate their fathers, in order to keep on possessing them, even beyond the grave. You have just seen wh [...]

    8. This was an uglier read than I remembered. Some plot points were horrifying. The writing was classic L'Engle, always a plus, but the darkness dragged this book down. This is a personal perception - others may not mind the darkness - but L'Engle, to me, was a writer who saw hope in everything, who stressed that cliche silver lining. That clear-eyed joy in all things was what drew me to her works.Other negatives: the plot wrapped up too hastily and the plethora of immensely talented people became [...]

    9. Having loved L'Engle's Wrinkle in Time (and related stories), I devoured A Small Rain and A Severed Wasp over a weekend. I have to say that I enjoyed the grownup Katherine more than I did the helpless youthful Katherine. Her character is graceful, composed, elegant, but still human. The New York atmosphere gave it additional romance, all of that tenseness and heat of the city.

    10. Rather silly novel overflowing with more tragedies than a year's worth of soap opera scripts. All the characters speak in lengthy paragraphs and can divine a person's level of musical talent by looking into his or her eyes.

    11. It's interesting to think that L'Engle wrote this novel so many years after "The Small Rain". We see Katherine Vigneras retired from piano performance and settling in NYC, reconnecting with a friend from long ago and getting drawn into a psychological drama. Again, I am amazed at the way people approach the main character. It's typically like this: "Katherine/Katya/Madame Vigneras, I've only known you for a few days/two minutes/an hour but I feel like you know my soul and so I'm going to talk to [...]

    12. I don't know why this says it's an Austin Family book; it isn't. It's a sequel to A Small Rain. Although this book, written much later in L'Engle's life, is more mature in style, I liked it less than A Small Rain, which was her first published book. The story moves from Europe to New York and centers around a church there, and I think that I'm just not that interested in the new setting. I read it because I really wanted to see Katherine, the main character, grown up. I still would recommend it [...]

    13. If a student turned writing like this in, I'd be proud. If I had never heard of the author, I would probably put it down. From Madeleine L'Engle, it's disappointing (and oh, does it hurt to say that). I'm only pushing through out of loyalty to her. This book would probably make a dynamite short story, but it just takes so long for everything to happen! It's a little soap-opera-y too, like too many sensationalist subplots. I do like the characterization. Whatever. I'm not quite done, but I know t [...]

    14. I kept reading this one hoping I would like it more than I did - it was very slow and measured, and everyone sat around at drank tea a lot. And ate dinner. And went to dinner parties. And took long baths. And in dribs and drabs in between all that there was some plot. But only a little bit. And very understated. A lot of people on loved this book, but it was just not for me.

    15. I love L'Engle so much, and this was written beautifully, but it took me forever because I just couldn't get beneath the surface of the prose. I didn't realize it was a sequel--maybe that has something to do with it.

    16. This is a sequel to The Small Rain. Katherine is now an elderly woman, widowed, with grandchildren. She has retired from concert touring and returns to her house in New York City, where she rents some rooms to others. Those that figure in the story are a doctor, Mimi Oppenheimer, and a young couple in the basement apartment. Felix, whom she knew well in her youth and who figures largely in The Small Rain, is now an Episcopalian bishop; he draws her into the group of people who live in the Close [...]

    17. Got about 80-ish% through and have not picked it back up in months, so am probably not going to finish. I don't usually review unfinished books, but, unless something really amazing happens in the last couple of pages, I can assure you you're not missing much. I feel like I have an unusually high tolerance for so-called "slow" books, because I enjoy rich language, setting, introspection, etc. Unfortunately, this is the single slowest book I've ever read, and I finally couldn't take it anymore. T [...]

    18. One of my favorite L'Engle books, which is surprising because the first 1/3 was slow and I could barely get through it without falling asleep. The more I got into Katherine's psyche and her past, though, the more attached I became. I loved how richly developed even the smallest of characters were, and the way things came together to form a community. A lot of the plot points (and the setting) reminded me of one of the Austin family books (and Emily is mentioned) but I liked the way this book han [...]

    19. Much of the material discussed is not pleasant. Also, I don't agree completely with the theology that comes out in the book. However, she knows how to put a story together, and you can tell that she has put a lot of her self into her characters (you can tell that the author knows how to play the piano, has given birth, loved, experienced the pain of death, etc.).

    20. Somehow, this book was both mesmerizing and infuriatingly slow. But I have loved Madeleine L’Engle’s books that are directed at a young adult audience and want to go through and read more of her books in the next year. I did enjoy the main character’s perspective and commentary on getting older.

    21. One of the best books I've ever read.It's a good story and always keeps some suspense going. Plus there are buried in the story many life lessons, such as, "We live in a world sold on success,but love is what it's all about."

    22. I enjoyed the interplay of church politics and professional music with what would otherwise have been relatively uninteresting drama. And of course L'Engle's prose is beautiful and comfortable.

    23. she is a famous musician old now scarred by wwii lost her son husband scarred interesting to be in ny, cathedral, and music scene.

    24. An interesting, thought-provoking novel, with many twists and surprises. I enjoyed the characters and the tension that slowly built throughout the story.

    25. This book was tacky to say the least. And Katherine Vigneras, the protagonist, became too much of a saint to remain credible. I am disappointed.

    26. Ever since I was in divinity school I have heard about L'Engle's books. I've managed to track down a few at the library, not necessarily the really theological ones. Such was the case with the present book. I picked it up because it seemed to deal with a couple of themes/images/locales that appealed to me: classical music, a cathedral and church-y people, etc. I'm not sure if it's because the book is older than much of what I read (copyright early 1980's) or if I just am not all that drawn into [...]

    27. And interesting read. About halfway through it, the plot was getting mysterious and good. Up until then, I wasn't sure the flashbacks would be able to carry the story. I'm glad I read this novel. Sometimes it's a good thing to revisit characters. The Small Rain made a profound impact on me the first time I read it. As an artist, I wrestled with thoughts of total abandonment to the arts, depression, moodiness and all the things Katherine battles.I am glad to see that L'Engle has left traces of th [...]

    28. I received this book for my 17th birthday from a teacher and friend of the family. It took me a few years before I settled down to read it. Once I did, I've read it pretty much once a year since, and I just turned 33, and am again reading it to start my summer. What I love about the book: The writing. The characters. The intrigue. The ability for L'Engle to capture the beauty of the human spirit even in the midst of dark and ugly moments. I'm not naive. The book has its quirks. Everybody, appare [...]

    29. Quotes:How does one survive even the normal viscissitudes of life without a driving passion and its concomitant demanding work?"Once we recognize that we're broken, we have a chance to mend.""I suppose darkness doesn't go where things are already dark."This nightmare of reality had less coherence than a dream.Thawing hurts " if I were to come over to you and put my arms around you and tell you I was sorry you feel poorly, you would stiffen up like a little ramrod. It would be like putting my arm [...]

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