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A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time (edition 1962)

by Madeleine L'Engle

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21,34848964 (4.1)2 / 806
Title:A Wrinkle in Time
Authors:Madeleine L'Engle
Info:Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group (1962), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 190 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:library book

Work details

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

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1960s (3)
Unread books (1,018)

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English (485)  Dutch (1)  Tagalog (1)  German (1)  English (Middle) (1)  All languages (489)
Showing 1-5 of 485 (next | show all)
This book is about a girl named Meg, a boy named Kelvin, Megs little brother Charles Wallace, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Witch, and Mrs. Who. As Meg begins to fail her grade while people start to say bad things about Charles Wallace since he is a very strange boy and on top of all of this her father is missing somwhere for about 1 whole year. One night there was a storm and Meg couldn't sleep and since she coudn't sleep she decided to go down stairs and get somthing to eat. But somhow her little brother already knew that she was going to go downstairs so he had already made a sandwich for her. Soon Meg's mother woke up to find them two eating at the table when suddenly they hear somone at the door. So Megs mother goes outside and brings in a mysteryous old lady. She soon leaves but suddenly she tells Meg that she knew where her father was.After that Meg and Charles Wallace go on an amazing adventure and on the way they meet Kelvin.
I liked this book because there is lots of action in it. I also liked this book because I really liked the words the author used a I just wanted to keep on reading it. ( )
  EmmaS91 | Feb 18, 2015 |
This was one of my first introductions to the world of scifi/fantasy, and I have been hooked ever since. ( )
  Ahnya | Feb 12, 2015 |
Authors often say they write the books they would have liked to read, and it’s also often said that authors effectively write about themselves, as if in response to the classic writing dictum Write what you know! This seems to be the case with A Wrinkle in Time.

Meg Murry is the classic outsider at the beginning of this science fantasy; at school she is awkward and friendless, she considers herself a plain Jane, she finds lessons torture. As the author herself stated in an interview, “Who would’ve wanted to be like Meg? I made Meg good at math and bad at English, and I was good at English and bad at math. Otherwise, we were very much alike! Meg couldn’t keep her hair nice and she was not a beauty. She was a difficult child. She is a lot like me!” And what would Madeleine L’Engle have liked to read? It’s clear it’s books about what she came across in her twenties and what excited her as a result: Einstein, particle physics and quantum mechanics. What more natural thing than to combine the two subject areas — herself and science? And then not only dedicate her first children’s book to her father and father-in-law but also honour them by calling another key character Charles Wallace after their forenames?

Meg Murry is further distinguished by being a virtual orphan. Though her mother is very much in evidence her father has mysteriously disappeared, as in so many classic children’s books (The Railway Children, for example). Sandy and Dennys, her ten-year-old twin brothers, seem scarcely affected by his absence, while the youngest sibling, Charles Wallace — regarded as backward at school — is in fact an intellectual prodigy. Meg and Charles Wallace, together with young neighbour Calvin O’Keefe, come into contact with three very odd women named, even more oddly, Mrs Whatsit (don’t we call anything nameless ‘whatsit’?), Mrs Who and Mrs Which, and the adventure proper begins.

This naming of characters is very important for many authors, and frequently significant in understanding their mental processes. Mrs Which’s name echoes its homonym ‘witch’, and this is what the women at first recall. We remember the Three Witches in Macbeth as well the Three Fates in Greek mythology (fata is also Italian for ‘fairy’) and the Three Norns in Scandinavian myth who likewise were prescient. L’Engle would also have known from her wide reading about Egyptologist Margaret Murray, the controversial author of such books as The Witch-Cult in Western Europe. Margaret Murray was still alive during the writing and publication of A Wrinkle in Time (she died in 1963 aged 100); though it seems likely that Meg Murry’s own name was suggested — consciously or subconsciously — by the discredited academic, there’s no suggestion that L’Engle, as a committed Episcopalian, espoused her views.

But are the three Mrs W’s really witches? And what is their function? The answer seems to be, from several dropped hints, that they are some kind of guardian angel, their role to precipitate action and advise instead of merely guarding from harm. For it is the task of the young trio of Meg, Charles Wallace and Calvin to use their strengths, gifts and talents to search for the missing father. By their own free will they have to learn how to exercise judgement and discrimination and when to act; they have to learn too from their mistakes, which they can’t do if they are completely mollycoddled and protected by the Three Mrs W’s.

For their quest is undoubtedly dangerous. Their hope is to discover the whereabouts of Meg and Charles Wallace’s father, a top scientist involved in highly secret work: this concerns instant travel across distances by means of a ‘tesseract’, a kind of wormhole through space and the fourth dimension. Their journey takes them to several worlds named from beings in Christian and Mayan mythology, two of them in fact circling a sun called Malak (Semitic for ‘angel’ or ‘messenger’). One of the planets, Camazotz, is shrouded by something they instinctively hate, what the children shudderingly call the Black Thing. Camazotz’s population are coerced into conformity, ultimately by a giant brain, and the three children risk being subjected to Its will. In the ensuing conflict can heart win over brain? And how exactly can it?

A Wrinkle in Time is a haunting book. I wasn’t sure if it worked, especially as it seemed at times to be sliding into the kind of allegory or Christian symbolism that for me helped make The Chronicles of Narnia a very flawed fantasy. But its ultimate message — Moral, if that’s not too strong a word — is a humanist one, even if one were to give it a religious spin. Above all, the ciphers that are the children of Lewis’ Narniad are here replaced by well-defined individuals: the talented Charles Wallace, the loyal and sociable Calvin and especially the irascible, temperamental and fierce Meg — the “difficult child”, just like Madeleine! And the anger and ferocity she displays are, as we find out, the outward sign of her true and genuine feelings, the key to solving the conflict.

Some of the best aspects come from the analogies given for living one’s life. My favourite is Calvin’s example of the sonnet. Even though it has strict form, with set metre, number of lines and rhyme scheme, one has total freedom to choose subject matter, mood and conclusion to fill that form. Is this is not a good template for each person’s time upon this earth?

http://wp.me/s2oNj1-wrinkle ( )
  ed.pendragon | Feb 11, 2015 |
This story is way more allegorical than I remembered it being when I read it as a child. That's probably natural; I understand more allusions than I did before. There are a lot of things about the Murry family that mirror my early life, which is probably part of why my mom encouraged us to read it. I appreciate the uniqueness of L'Engle's science fiction and worlds. However, the spiritual themes (which do agree with my spiritual experience) are rather heavy-handed, and that it takes me out of the story. ( )
1 vote TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
This story is a lot more allegorical than I remembered it being when I first read it. The spiritual elements of the story felt heavy-handed to me (although these elements agree with my spiritual experience). This took me out of the story.

I do admire the uniqueness of L'Engle's science fiction approach and the worlds she describes. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Madeleine L'Engleprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Caruso, BarbaraNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, Jody A.Cover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Linden, Vincent van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nielsen, CliffCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raskin, EllenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yoo, TaeeunCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For Charles Wadsworth Camp and Wallace Collin Franklin
First words
It was a dark and stormy night.
"The tesseract--" Mrs. Murry whispered. What did she mean? How could she have known?

Well, the fifth dimension's a tesseract...In other words, to put it into Euclid, or old-fashion plain geometry, a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.
“Maybe I don’t like being different,” Meg said. “but I don’t want to be like everybody else, either.”
“You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?”

“Yes.” Mrs. Whatsit said. “You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”
The middle beast, a tremor of trepidation in his words, said "You aren't from a dark planet, are you?"
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Meg, Calvin, and Charles Wallace leave Earth in search of Meg's father, Mr. Murry. Mr. Murry is a scientist who has been missing since the birth of Charles Wallace, Meg's baby brother. Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Whatsist, however, assist the children in their journey by helping them to tesseract or wrinkle in time. They soon discover that their father has been detained by IT. IT tries to transform people into mindless robots. Will they be able to overpower IT? Will they be able to save their father?
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312367546, Paperback)

Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time.

Young people who have trouble finding their place in the world will connect with the "misfit" characters in this provocative story. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep into their characters to find answers.

A classic since 1962, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg's shattering yet ultimately freeing discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the power of good over evil. (Ages 9 to 12)

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:19:48 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg's father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government.

(summary from another edition)

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