Top books of 1973, #3: A Wind in the Door, by Madeleine L’Engle

Second paragraph of third chapter:

“Do not be afraid,” he repeated. “He won’t hurt you.”

This is the second in the sequence of five novels by Madeleine L’Engle about Meg Murry, of which the first and by far the best known is A Wrinkle in Time. (An odd coincidence: my grandmother’s married name was Margaret Murray.) Here Meg is teamed up with a cherubim and her brother Charles’s struggling head-teacher to learn lessons and fight mystic battles among the mitochondria of Charles’ failing body. To be honest, it’s less humane and less magical than the previous book, and there are several longish chapters of Meg lost in the void, without physical form, communicating through dialogue with unseen allies and enemies, Proust could (just about) get away with taking fifty pages to walk up a flight of stairs, but L’Engle doesn’t quite pull it off. Still, it’s an encouraging, positive, imaginative book, and I think the yung readers of 1973 would have been glad to have a sequel, even if it wasn’t quite up to the mark. You can get it here.

In fact while A Wind in the Door is a strong third-placed of the 1973 books on LibraryThing (well ahead of Gravity’s Rainbow), it’s only fourth on Goodreads, well behind Rendezvous with Rama (which however scores much worse on LT). You can get it here.