Though I have no shortage of books to read on this Kindle, I am always looking for more. Madeleine L’Engle has always been someone whose thoughts on writing have been invaluable to me, and her early stories some of my first forays into fantasy and Science Fiction. I recently revisited A Wrinkle in Time, a book I have not read for at least 15 years, and thought I would share a few of my thoughts on it now as an adult.
Deep Language, Deep Concepts: L’Engle doesn’t shy away from complex aspects of physics, nor the vastness of human literature, right down to a character who speaks mostly in quotations. That said her explanations are eminently elegant, describing the folding of space and time as an ant traveling across a crease in a skirt.
Evil is presented without pulling punches as well. The seductive, powerful and empty qualities are all explored as well as freezing cold and blackness. While a giant brain might be a rather literal metaphor for a force of pure logic, it nonetheless conveys the lack of heart and the disgusting aspects of evil.
Memorable Characters: The three women, Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which are a hoot while at the same time revealing their higher nature. Charles Wallace is beyond precocious, a child adult who speaks in his own form of lateral logic. Even as a small child you can tell he is something different and it will be interesting to see how he grows up in the later books.
Meg as the main character is going through her own journey, seeing the fallacies in her father while also learning about her strengths, and the appeal she has for others. I do think the romantic aspect of her relationship with Calvin moves a little faster than seems logical with these characters (I didn’t know anyone who was 12-13 who pulled someone in for a passionate kiss). It almost seemed like what someone at that age would fantasize about romance, instead of the real thing. That said, Meg changes a lot in this story and her growth is only bound to continue.
50 years later: There were definitely aspects of the planet Camozotz that felt like other things of its time. The planet reminded me some of The Village from The Prisoner and a couple of Star Trek: The Original Series episodes. The planet lives on conformity, every decision made by IT and every irregularity harshly dealt with. That said the story ages well, both from the time it was written, and from the time I first read it.
Not Christian Fiction: L’Engle’s best work incorporates some aspects of Christian faith without making them the main thrust of the story. Later works of hers are not as well balanced, but in this story she is in fine form. This balance is the same I try to strike in my work, and one that will take time and reading more great works like this one.
In short an uplifting and exciting young adult story that still resonates with adults. Recommended.