On Madeline L’Engle and bits of A Wind in the Door
What did Charles Wallace saw?It is November. When Meg comes home from school, Charles Wallace tells her he saw dragons in the twin’s vegetable garden. That night Meg, Calvin and C.W. go to the vegetable garden to meet the Teacher (Blajeny) who explains that what they are seeing isn’t a dragon at all, but a cherubim named Proginoskes. It turns out that C.W. is ill and that Blajeny and Proginoskes are there to make him well – by making him well, they will keep the balance of the universe in check and save it from the evil Echthros.
L’Engle’s books are the most complicated children’s books I have ever read. I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time for the first time and found it difficult to imagine the scenes, empathize with the characters and feel the book. I found myself drifting apart; I was reading it and not. Analyzing and imagining would not work so I settled to simply reading it, letting the words speak to me, and found it more effective but also a quick way to forget what I have read. Suspending myself to belief does not work well on me with L’Engle’s.
If A Wrinkle in Time was already a chore, what so more with A Wind in the Door? Reading it was like reading math, and the math references, though interesting, did not help (I have always loathed the subject). The descriptions are beyond any sense or imagination, and making up visuals in my head failed me, because the words were too abstract for me. Terms are thrown here and about. I did what I did before: let the words speak to me. Fortunately, L’Engle writes as if she’s brewing tea or baking pastries. I could almost taste her words. They are delicious and captivating that, despite being a short, quick read, it filled me up.
A WInd in the Door continues the story of Meg, Calvin, now her boyfriend, and Charles Wallace, her super intelligent bro. Not a single reference from A Wrinkle in Time was mentioned, so this book could pretty much stand on its own, though Meg is noticeably less annoying and more in control compared to the previous book. Mr. Jenkins, before a minor, annoying adult, becomes a vital character this time. I absolutely love his development in this book and if there’s one character who asks the right questions for my confused brain, it’s Mr. Jenkins and if there’s a person I could totally relate to in this book, it’s Mr. Jenkins. It’s a nice touch to see the events through a normal adult’s perspective, which reflects my own as well.
L’Engle is the most imaginative author I have known so far. She does not stick to what is comprehensible but goes beyond, which must be why I find it difficult to read her books unlike other authors whose style is somewhat already familiar to me. Reading L’Engle’s is like trying to find the answer to a riddle. Her books point to something I could not comprehend, which is love. The characters, the math, the science, the magic, they are merely the pen and paper in conveying L’Engle’s trademark: the power of love, and despite my difficulty in following her tales, I found it easier to understand her expressions of love, and more profound it was, because it first felt like swimming against a tsunami and then, finally, finding safety. L’Engle’s love is pure and magical, and powerful, and despite the complications of her stories, her solution is rather simple: love. If I were to have a child, I’d definitely read her L’Engle’s.
“Love isn’t how you feel. It’s what you do.”