Madeleine L’Engle has died.
The first book of hers that I ever read was probably the first book of hers that most people read: A Wrinkle in Time. I was utterly enchanted by it. A homely heroine (okay, she wasn’t really homely, and grew up to be a stunner, but still), her beyond-brilliant little brother, and the popular guy who actually liked the homely heroine–add in the witches and It, and she concocted a real winner.
Some years later I found The Moon By Night, and discovered Vicky Austin. I quickly read the other Vicky Austin books then out (Meet the Austins, The Young Unicorns, A Ring of Endless Light) and the books of the other characters in their world (Arm of the Starfish).
I loved how Ms. L’Engle wove books about characters from different series, so that the world kept expanding. I found the other Murry books (A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters). I found the books about Meg’s children with a character I first met in The Moon by Night.
I found the books that were less well-known–The Small Rain and A Severed Wasp and fell in love with them. I’ve read her stand-alone books, and some of her religious books, some of her autobiographical works, and some of her poetry.
She was the first writer to ever make me almost think I could grasp quantum mechanics, to make me have some interest in mathematics and science on a far higher order than I ever imagined, even though I’m the farthest thing imaginable from a mathematician or scientist.
I’ve given her books as Christmas gifts to ungrateful kids (yes, A-banana, I’m talking to you! Go read Troubling a Star, dangit! You’ll love it!). I’ve collected them for myself. I paid more money than I care to think about for my copy of A Severed Wasp, and I’m glad I did.
I’m thankful for the time she spent writing, for the characters she created, for the life she led and the way she led it. I’m sad to think that she’s gone from this earth.
Thank you, Madeleine. Vade in pace. You will be missed.