Thursday, June 14, 2007

Old Favorite in New Edition

The first book I clearly remember reading was Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle In Time." I was staying with a cousin in Washington, D.C., on my own, which was pretty cool as I was only about six at the time, I think. I slid between a chair and coffee table and she said, "I bet you could slip through a wrinkle in time." Puzzled, I asked what that meant. She got the book down and showed me, and I was enthralled. I remember that she'd written notes in the margins, obviously having studied it for a class at some point, and that some phrases were underlined (Mrs. Who's pithy quote, "May the right prevail" being the only one I remember).

I loved "A Wrinkle In Time," was delighted at "A Wind In The Door," but "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" remains my favorite of the series. I may have read "Many Waters," but I don't recall it, and "An Acceptable Time" is a new one to me. All five of them are stories of the Murry family: Meg, Charles Wallace, their friend Calvin O'Keefe, Meg's mother and father, the twins Sandy and Dennys. And the ones I've read are all wonderful.

Square Fish is reissuing the books in lovely new editions. If you are strangers to these books, please do yourself a favor and pick them up. For Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which; for Proginoskes and Mr. Jenkins; for Gaudior and Zilla; for Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin.


NedSanyour said...

I remember the film strip of
"A Wrinkle in Time" that was shown in grammar school. The climactic sort of conflict scene has this moment when Meg yells to her brother, "Charles Wallace. I love you," and that somehow brings him back to them and all evil collapses and good wins out.

I just recall the terrible delivery the girl had of that line. Flat and embarrassed all at once, like she felt as stupid telling her brother she loved him as we did hearing a sister say she loved a brother.

The phrase I remember was "There is such a thing as a tesseract," and the mystery that simple sentence conveyed.

I loved that first book, I recall that. I don't remember any impressions of the others, so that isn't a good sign.

First books is a neat question. I recall Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as the first book I read on my own. I think I had memorized it due to hearing it over and over and I can still hear the tone and tenor of the part where Uncle Joe says of the candy grass, "I would walk around on all fours, grazing, like a cow."

Tim Susman said...

Many of the lines from that first book resonate:
"Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract."

"You have something that IT has not."

And I can imagine the cheesy enactment of the "I love you" scene, though in the book it was amazingly powerful. I do wonder whether, in the wake of the LotR and Narnia movies, "Wrinkle In Time" is being considered for a movie. I think L'Engle is a little odd for the mainstream, but "Wrinkle in Time" could definitely work: the missing father, the weird Stepford planet (Camazotz!), the three mysterious women...