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A Live Coal In The Sea

 
 
 
 
A Live Coal In The Sea
Author: Madeleine L'Engle
ISBN 13: 9780060652869
ISBN 10: 60652861
Edition: First HarperCollins Paper
Publisher: HarperOne
Publication Date: 1997-04-11
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
List Price: $14.99
 
 

Madeleine L'Engle's first adult novel in four years — now in paperback! With 23,000 copies sold since May 1996, this "haunting domestic drama" (Publishers Weekly) examines the powers of faith and mercy in one family's confrontation with a legacy of evil.

Best known for A Wrinkle in Time — the children's classic that has sold more than 2 million copies since 1962 — Madeleine L'Engle is as adept at exploring faith and human experience as she is at spinning fascinating, fantastic tales. Now this masterful storyteller blends her two passions and offers an engrossing new story to delight her devoted audience.

When Dr. Camilla Dickinson's teenage granddaughter confronts her with the disquieting question of whether Camilla is, in fact, her grandmother, long-kept secrets rise to the surface to test the faith, love and loyalty of the Xanthakos family. This skillful, gripping tale shuttles between past and troubled present, providing clues to a multigenerational mystery — clues that begin to focus on Camilla's son, the deeply troubled TV idol Artaxias, and on Camilla's mother, the irresistibly beautiful and adulterous Rose. Though riveting and psychologically complex, A Live Coal in the Sea is "infused with the warmth of love and mercy" (Booklist), showcasing the keen eye and deep compassion that have made L'Engle one of this century's premier writers on faith and its place in human experience.

Publishers Weekly

Red hair acts as a red flag in this haunting domestic drama, signaling an end to secrecy in the far-flung Xanthakos family. When flame-haired college student Raffi Xanthakos demands to know if professor Camilla Dickinson is really her grandmother, Camilla guides Raffi along the branches of a family tree afflicted with a peculiar blight. Raffi's father is Artaxias, aka Taxi, a famous soap-opera star who behaves imperiously toward his wife and daughter. How is Taxi actually related to Camilla, and to his sister, Frankie? L'Engle, the venerated author of more than 40 novels for children and adults (Certain Women), delves into the past to present a compassionate portrait of Camilla and her husband, Mac Xanthakos, as a young couple beset on every side by inherited troubles. Mac is an Episcopalian priest; Camilla is an astronomer. This marriage of religion and science grows and flourishes with special help from Mac's wise mother, Olivia. An ill-timed accident claims the life of Camilla's own mother, and she and Mac find themselves obliged to raise the damaged child, Taxi, alongside Frankie. As Camilla gradually tells Raffi what she knows, and as Raffi does some snooping of her own to find her paternal grandfather, sifting through generations of half-told truths and desperate silences, both emerge from their journeys purged of weights that have burdened their hearts. If L'Engle's dialogue is sometimes board-stiff, lending this work the psychological depth of a YA novel for grown-ups, she still demonstrates a sure touch with her theme of redemption, rescuing all her characters from their separate sorrows so they can forgive and be forgiven. (May)