Madeleine L’Engle : A Wind in the Door

As a kid, I distinctly remember thinking that A Wind in the Door was even better than A Wrinkle in Time.

I think this was mostly because of Proginoskes, an unusual and seriously awesome character.

But it’s not possible for me to sustain my former opinion of the novels’ relative merit this time around. The events in A Wind in the Door clearly happen after those in A Wrinkle in Time, but the characters seem curiously unaware of those events — they have to go through the passage of disbelief deal all over again. Some fantasists — Tim Powers comes to mind — employ this deliberately, with the implication that the human mind blots out events that violate our understanding of the universe as soon as they’re over. (Characters in some of Powers’ fiction have their most explicit encounter with the unreal when they’re pretty much blotto, which helps.) But first, there’s zero textual support for this interpretation in A Wind in the Door, and second, it runs counter to the thematic content of the novels, which is about increasing mental openness and spiritual awareness. Speaking of which . . .

They’re basically the same book, thematically. Meg has to move a little farther along the same path, but it is pretty clearly the same path, and even the nature of the specific plot threat is somewhat similar.

Other things that struck me:

  • Since I made a big deal of the explicit Christian textual references in “Wrinkle,” I should probably mention that it’s dialed way, way down here, and mixed with a healthy dollop of pantheism.
  • There’s some pretty cool scientific extrapolation/invention, but also some sloppy stuff, with “parsec” being used as a unit of time one of the most glaring. (Just like Star Wars!)
  • At a certain point the novel gets kinda amazingly non-concrete. I was actually reminded a wee bit of Woolf’s The Waves.

needs more demons? Mmmaybe. But I do still love it.

Published by therealsummervillain

likes: equality, making things easier to use, biking, jangle, distortion, monogamy dislikes: bigotry, policies that jeopardize people, lack of transparency

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