Sunday, June 30, 2013

Book review: A Wrinkle in Time by Margaret L'Engle

Book blurb:
It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

"Wild nights are my glory," the unearthly stranger told them. "I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract".

Meg's father had been experimenting with this fifth dimension of time travel when he mysteriously disappeared. Now the time has come for Meg, her friend Calvin, and Charles Wallace to rescue him. But can they outwit the forces of evil they will encounter on their heart-stopping journey through space?



My review:
As you may have noticed, I have been making a concerted effort to step away from what is new and hot in the way of fiction and focus on some of the classics, especially science fiction. When I was talking to others about my quest for the classics, this is a book that was recommended time and time again.

I don't know anything about this author, other than what is listed below in her bio, and that she passed away in 2007. Although the primary setting for her book is the Carolinas, when reading it you get the feeling that it is a British novel and I couldn't help picturing the English countryside. I think much of that has to do with the author's writing style, which was likely influenced by her years an English boarding school. 

The scientific facts she imbues into this novel are still relevant today. I enjoyed this book, but it did feel dated to me. I couldn't appreciate it for the classic that it is. Maybe I'm just not literary enough.

Have you read this book, or this series? How did you feel about it?

About the author:

Madeleine L'Engle was an American writer best known for her Young Adult fiction, particularly the Newbery Medal-winning A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters. Her works reflect her strong interest in modern science: tesseracts, for example, are featured prominently in A Wrinkle in Time, mitochondrial DNA in A Wind in the Door, organ regeneration in The Arm of the Starfish, and so forth.

"Madeleine was born on November 29th, 1918, and spent her formative years in New York City. Instead of her school work, she found that she would much rather be writing stories, poems and journals for herself, which was reflected in her grades (not the best). However, she was not discouraged.

At age 12, she moved to the French Alps with her parents and went to an English boarding school where, thankfully, her passion for writing continued to grow. She flourished during her high school years back in the United States at Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina, vacationing with her mother in a rambling old beach cottage on a beautiful stretch of Florida Beach.

She went to Smith College and studied English with some wonderful teachers as she read the classics and continued her own creative writing. She graduated with honors and moved into a Greenwich Village apartment in New York. She worked in the theater, where Equity union pay and a flexible schedule afforded her the time to write! She published her first two novels during these years--A Small Rain and Ilsa--before meeting Hugh Franklin, her future husband, when she was an understudy in Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard. They married during The Joyous Season.

She had a baby girl and kept on writing, eventually moving to Connecticut to raise the family away from the city in a small dairy farm village with more cows than people. They bought a dead general store, and brought it to life for 9 years. They moved back to the city with three children, and Hugh revitalized his professional acting career. The family has kept the country house, Crosswicks, and continues to spend summers there.

As the years passed and the children grew, Madeleine continued to write and Hugh to act, and they to enjoy each other and life. Madeleine began her association with the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine, where she has been the librarian and maintained an office for more than thirty years. After Hugh's death in 1986, it was her writing and lecturing that kept her going. She has now lived through the 20th century and into the 21st and has written over 60 books and keeps writing. She enjoys being with her friends, her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren."http://us.macmillan.com/author/madele...
Copyright © 2007 Crosswicks, Ltd. (Madeleine L'Engle, President)(less)

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