We have to dare to be ourselves, however frightening or strange that self may prove to be. ~May Sarton

from my bookshelf

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle Many Waters

I am currently reading Many Waters by Madeleine L'Engle, a part of her Time Quintet series.

I have read A Wrinkle in Time about 4 times since grade school, but have never gone on to read the rest of the series, so weekend before last decided to sit down and read the series right through. I had picked up all 5 books with their new covers awhile back at B&N, so it was just a matter of putting my mind to it.

I really enjoy A Wrinkle in Time, and had expected that the following books would continue on with the story, with A Wind in the Door picking up where Wrinkle leaves off, and so forth. However, A Wind in the Door takes place several years after Wrinkle, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet is even longer after Wind, and one book does not necessarily reflect what happened in the previous (case in point, I'm curious to know what happened to the 3 Mrs' from Wrinkle). It's been a fun series to read, I just wish there was a certain amount more cohesiveness from one book to the next.

Many Waters actually takes place sometime between Wind and Planet, and I think was written with the express purpose of giving the twins an opportunity for an adventure. Having been written after Planet, there is no indication in that book whatsoever that the twins ever had an adventure, and the ending of Many Waters may be written in such a way that would explain why later there would have been no reference in Planet, but I think this is a problem that many books suffer from when written out of order.

The story follows the adventures of the twins as they have been accidentally sent back in time to a pre-Great Flood Earth, inhabited by miniature mammoths, unicorns, manticores, griffins, the seraphim (the angles who have elected to stay on Earth) and the nephilim (the fallen angels who are trapped on Earth). The twins befriend the family of Noah, just before he is informed by El (God) to build the ark. I'm interested to see where the story goes, but there isn't much concern for the well-being of the twins, as I know they will find a way to survive the flood and make their way back home, since they appear in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

One thing I do like about L'Engle's writing is that there is a certain amount of spiritualism in the books, dealing directly with God, but it isn't presented in a preaching manner. Each culture that is visited by the Murray children each believes in a God, but it is dealt with in more of a natural being of spiritualism where everything, from the trees to the stars can hear the harmonies of the "greater being." I tend to look at my spiritualism in much the same way, that the greater good is seen all around us, as opposed to a need for any sort of organized religion.

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