Melody's Reviews > Ingathering: The Complete People Stories of Zenna Henderson

Ingathering by Zenna Henderson
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's review
Jan 03, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorites, comfort-read
Read from March 03 to 07, 2011

Extraordinary. I read and re-read Henderson's People books as a young girl and as an alienated teen. No, that's not fair- I didn't read them, I clung to them as a lifeline and dared to hope that there would be a place for me somewhere, someday. I'm pleased to report that, first of all, I've found a lovely place for me, and secondly, Henderson's stories hold up over time.

I have carried the Francher kid in my heart all these years, and it was glorious to meet him again. And Karen, of course. And the heartbreaking Eva-Lee. And Lytha. And Melodye, whose spelling I briefly aped. Henderson's characters are alive- gloriously, realistically, maddeningly alive.

It surprised me how much of these books I have by heart- the phrases entire, intact. The stories too, of course. I am heartily sorry that Zenna Henderson is not more well-known. She was a hell of a writer. Many of her stories center around the rural teacher and her charges. Re-reading these stories made me remember, among other things, that I always believed, growing up, that I'd be one of those teachers. 'Course, I always half-believed I was one of her lost People, and I waited a long, long time before I gave up on Jemmy & Valancy coming to fetch me Home.

Henderson examines the fault lines around religion without ever losing a deep and sobering recognition of The Sacred. Her People's relationship with The Presence makes me so terribly sorry I can't enter into it- but somehow gives me hope that somewhere, somehow, humanity can be healed. If you follow my reviews, you know I'm not a believer in any sort of higher power, but, oh, how Henderson makes me want to be. That's how good her writing is.

If you have the slightest tolerance for sci-fi, you should be reading her stuff.


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Reading Progress

03/03/2011 page 29
5.0% "Oh! The Francher kid! Of course."
03/04/2011 page 150
26.0% "I realized tonight that I've been in love with the Francher kid for 34 years."
03/05/2011 page 220
38.0% "Amazing how much of this I remember verbatim and how much I still cry at every single story."
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Melody I think here is the best place to start, Abigail.

She also wrote two books of short stories: The Anything Box and Holding Wonder. They are also wonderful as I recall, but not thematically linked, as the People stories are.

I often wonder why Henderson's output was so meagre, but I'm grateful for the 4 books she left us with.

Melody Abigail, This book, Ingathering is a compilation that includes the complete texts of both The People: No Different Flesh and Pilgrimage: The Book of the People plus other stories about The People.

I don't believe that her books were originally published as YA, though they are certainly appropriate for young people.

Melody Pilgrimage is the first one. I think starting there makes the most sense. :-)

message 4: by Laurie (new) - added it

Laurie I will read it! I look forward to reading stories that are part of you.

Melody Oh, Laurie, that's wonderful. I can't wait to talk about it with you!

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