NaBloPoMo day 7: Post the opening sentence of your favorite book. How long has this book been in your life?
“The very size of the cathedral was a surprise” (Madeleine L’Engle, A Severed Wasp).
I don’t know that I still consider this my favorite book, but it will do, and for years and years I claimed it as my favorite. Maybe it was the cathedral setting. Or the New York arts world. Maybe it was learning who Katherine Forrester from A Small Rain had become. (I discovered Katherine’s earlier story in a children’s form from the library at some point in elementary school and read the original later. In some ways I identified even more with Katherine than I had with Meg or Vicky, as much as I did fully identify with each of them). Maybe it was the connection with the Austin books. Maybe it was the intricacies of the plot that moved back and forth in time in Katherine’s life. Maybe it was just the right book at the right time, one of the first grown-up novels I read.
I think I read it first in high school, maybe very early in college. It was published in ’82, so it would have been fairly new (5 or 6 years old) when I read it in the late 80s. I think I was excited to discover there was more L’Engle after I had consumed all the Young Adult novels.
I also loved The Young Unicorns which was also set in the cathedral and introduced us to the young gangster Dave who is the Cathedral Dean in A Severed Wasp. Later, I would visit L’Engle’s New York and The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and eat at the restaurant they eat at in the book. Ahhhh…