Madeleine L’Engle

I first came to Madeleine L’Engle via my grandmother, who has always been a big fan. She gave me Troubling a Star, which is excellent but not the book to start with. Fortunately, I was interested enough to keep going. I love the families in L’Engle, the threads that cross from her scifi books to the (mostly) realistic Austin stories. I haven’t re-read the Chairos series recently, but I know that several of the Austin books rank in my favorite books of all time.

L’Engle also wrote several memoirs and other fiction. I’ve mostly enjoyed these without having the same emotional attachment to them that I have to the Murry/Austin series. I certainly don’t always agree with her theology, but other times she puts into words something I have felt very strongly without knowing how to say.

My favorite L’Engle books
1. A Wrinkle in Time
2. Meet the Austins
3. A Ring of Endless Light
4. A Circle of Quiet
5. Troubling a Star

All of my L’Engle reviews
A Wrinkle in Time, briefly (2008)
The Young Unicorns, briefly (2008)
And Both Were Young, briefly (2011)
Love Letters, briefly (2011)
The Small Rain, briefly (2010)
A Severed Wasp, briefly (2010)
Certain Women, briefly (2012)
A Circle of Quiet, briefly (2010)
The Rock that is Higher, briefly (2010)
The Summer of the Great-Grandmother, briefly (2011)
The Weather of the Heart, briefly (2011)

Books I’ve read but haven’t formally reviewed
A Wind in the Door (1973)–read.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978)–read.
Many Waters (1986)–read.

The Arm of the Starfish (1965)–read.
Dragons in the Waters (1976)–read.
A House Like a Lotus (1984)–read. My least favorite of her books.
An Acceptable Time (1989)–read.

Meet the Austins (1960)–read.
The Moon by Night (1963)–read.
A Ring of Endless Light (1980)–read.
Troubling a Star (1994)–read.


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5 responses to “Madeleine L’Engle

  1. Beth

    Wow! This is some list. I’ve read most of her famous ones, like the entire Meg Murry series, and the five core books of the Austin family, and the three crossover ones – An Acceptable Time and Dragons in the Waters, both of which I disliked, and The Arm of the Starfish, which I loved. And I just read A Severed Wasp recently and I really liked that as well.

    Why didn’t you like A House Like a Lotus? Any specific reason?

    • Maureen E

      That’s actually most of what I’ve read as well. I did like An Acceptable Time, and I don’t remember Dragons in the Waters in the slightest! 🙂

      I don’t like A House Like a Lotus because the sexual content seems so weird and random and kind of out of place. I don’t know–I love plenty of books that have some content in them, but I remember being really icked out by the whole thing when I read it.

  2. My mom sent me an email that I read one of hers as a kid – it may have been “Meet the Austins” but I’ve forgotten which one it was. I never got through “A Wrinkle in Time” as a kid, but have read it as an adult.
    And, I highly recommend “The Irrational Season” – it’s kind of like “Facing East” – it uses the liturgical year as the structure. Very nice.

  3. I loved reading… The Other Side Of The Sun (1971)

    I really need to get that one again. I think I have read all of her fiction except the 2008 book and perhaps the Anti-muffins.

    Yeah, the Lotus book is a bit much at times esp. for the age group; some of her other adult books have a bit but I think that the Lotus book may the most.

    She was a huge influence on me in my earlier 20’s … I have more perspective on her now but she will always have my love and respect. I was sad when she passed away but treasure her books. May her memory be eternal…

    • Maureen E

      I don’t think I’ve read that one yet.

      I agree on her influence–I love her fiction. I’m glad that I’m reading her non-fiction now, when I’m a little more equipped to discern what’s good (which there’s a lot of) and what’s less good in her memoirs and such. I do deeply love her books and think that she did actually get a lot of things right.

      (Sidenote: In “A Circle of Quiet” she talks about her Russian priest friend, Fr. Andrey. Eventually I realized that she was referring to Metropolitan Anthony Bloom! I visited his cathedral in London several times and really liked it, so that was an interesting discovery.)

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