Madeleine L’Engle | Madeleine L’Engle Herself: Reflections on a Writing Life (Convergent Books)

“A book, too, can be a star, explosive material, capable of stirring up fresh life endlessly, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.” ~ Madeleine L’Engle

384 pgs. | $16 paperback | Compiled by Carole F. Chase

The work of Madeleine L’Engle is such a part of our literary history that you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t know her. Best known for her Time Quintet, including A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle expressed the earnestly open minds and clever wits of children, and married the worlds of magic and science. The science that she used in the Quintet is actually used to help teach physics class. The science she used in the books, it should be said, predates the science used by the astronauts.

This book is a collection of speeches, stories, and anecdotes from her life. From her Episcopalian faith, and the Universalist Christian ethos that got her into trouble sometimes, to her love of science, you can see how her fantasy books came to life. Meg Murry, easily one of the most well known of her characters, is the daughter of two scientists, and travels to another world (by way of magic). This dance of magic and science, plus the honest account of a clever child who doesn’t fit in, makes her the favorite for every kid, especially girls, who felt the same way.

Learning about L’Engle’s faith shines a new light on some of the devices that she used in the books, particularly the Mrs.’s as guardian angels, and the use of Patrick’s Rune to help her little protagonist, Charles Wallace, gather the courage he needs.

This collection includes advice for writers, the love of vocabulary, religion, how to talk to children, and “The Paradox of Success.”

For anyone who loved Meg Murry and Charles Wallace. For authors who want a guiding hand in their work. For anyone who wishes they could have  had tea with her before she passed in 2007, this book is an absolute treasure. | Melissa Cynova

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