A Wrinkle In Time

ISBN: 0788746472
ISBN 13: 9780788746475
By: Madeleine L'Engle Barbara Caruso

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Childhood Childhood Favorites Children's Childrens Classic Kids Sci Fi Science Fiction Series To Read

About this book

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 sit down for a moment, and then I'll be on my way. Speaking of way, by the way, there is a such thing as a tesseract."A tesseract (in case the reader doesn't know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L'Engle's unusual book.Alternate Cover Edition for ISBN #0440998050

Reader's Thoughts

Nandakishore Varma

After coming to this book with high expectations, I must say I was disappointed. Since it is hailed as something of a children's classic, I expected something more than the rather insipid fare presented. Madeline L'Engle seems to have set out to write a children's fantasy with a lot of Hard SF concepts, but have ended up with a familiar "Good-versus-Evil" story in the Christian tradition, cluttered with a lot of half-cooked scientific concepts which are never more than cursorily explained.For example, the key concept, the "tesseract", is explained as “the fifth dimension”. The author says, through the character of Mrs. Whatsit:"Well, the fifth dimension’s a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go through the long way around. In other words, to put into Euclid, or old-fashioned plane geometry, a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points."Well, she is wrong on many counts here. The tesseract is actually a hypothetical figure of the mathematical fourth dimension, whose “faces” consist of three dimensional cubes, the same way the faces of a normal cube consist of squares. In fact, if you square a square, you get a cube: if you square a cube in the fourth dimension, you get a tesseract. (Interestingly enough, this point is well captured by L’Engle: only, she sees the fourth dimension as time. This is Einstein’s concept, and totally independent of the mathematical fourth dimension.)[To be fair, I have to add that although the author misses base totally with the basic concept, I found the title of the book is a nice way to describe the concept of a wormhole: however, apart from using this methodology to keep on jumping from one planet to another, this interesting topic is not developed further.]The parents of the protagonist, Meg, are scientists. Meg is a typical “difficult” child-bad at academics and rebellious at school, but brilliant. Her parents, being scientists, can see beyond outer appearances, so they are tolerant of her faults: her teachers and society less so. When the story begins, Meg’s father is missing, ostensibly on a secret mission for the government. But all the neighbours think that he has gone off with another woman, and the snide remarks she keeps on hearing do nothing to improve Meg’s already belligerent personality. The only person who understands her is kid brother Charles Wallace, a boy who is officially a moron but endowed with psychic powers in reality.It is into this situation, on a stormy night, that Mrs. Whatsit walks in. She, with her companions Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which (nice play on words here: Mrs. Who wears glasses and quotes from classics reminds one of a wise owl, and Mrs. Which flies on a broom and keeps on appearing and disappearing, as if by magic) are fighting against the “Darkness”, which Meg’s dad is also fighting. They whisk away Meg, Charles and neighbourhood kid Calvin across many universes and dimensions. It seems that the kids have been destined to fight the Darkness: which they do on the frightening planet Camazotz, and in true fairy tale tradition, initially lose and then win. And that’s the story in a nutshell.As fantasies go, this is pretty standard fare, considering the time in which it was written. However, the novelist must be commended for bringing the whole good-versus-evil battle into a wider canvas than the traditional Christian one: Einstein, Gandhi, Buddha, Da Vinci etc. are also seen as warriors of the Light along with Jesus, and the Darkness is never identified with the concept of Sin or the Devil. In fact, the description of Camazotz with its mindless inhabitants and their rigid adherence to discipline is positively chilling in its resemblance to a totalitarian regime (the nonconformist child being forced to toss the ball again and again, crying with pain at each practice… brrr!).But ultimately, the novel fails to deliver. Meg’s father’s experimental project ends up as just a plot device. The author seemed to have started out with a lot of ideas at the outset, but seems have lost track of them as the novel progressed: in the end, only the rescue of Meg’s father and his reunion with the family is given any focus. The whole background story remains extremely inchoate. And as a fearless female protagonist, Meg does precious little except at the very end.Still, I give the novel three stars for introducing a lot of interesting concepts to its young audience. In its time, it must have "ignited a lot of minds" (to borrow a phrase from our former President, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam) and encouraged them to travel along the adventurous trail of scientific discovery.

Clark Hallman

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle has been on my “To Read” list for many years because I have an affinity for time-travel novels. However, it is a children’s book or it is probably more appropriately described as a “Young Adult” novel. For some reason, that deterred me from reading it. However, this novel has cred. In 1963 it won the Newbery Medal, which is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. In addition, it is 7th in the Goodreads “Best Time Travel Books of All Time” list and 8th in the Goodreads “Best Time Travel Fiction” list. So, I read it now when I’m in my 60s and I enjoyed it very much (not because I’m in my second childhood either). This is a wonderfully written little novel that is packed with interesting, appealing, determined and brave characters. Meg, her extraordinary younger brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin are transported to a very remote planet to attempt a rescue of their father from an evil imprisonment. Three benevolent beings took them on this rescue journey via a tesseract, i.e., a wrinkle in time that allows them to quickly move through time and space. However, the children must battle the evil by themselves. I found this novel to be a very enjoyable cocktail of science fiction, fantasy and adventure that left me with a sweet feeling at the end. Maybe I am in my second childhood! This novel is a worthwhile read for anyone.

Matthew

The question is, after The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, what excuse does an author have for writing YET ANOTHER fantasy-land novel that corresponds to a Christian world-view? What Madeleine L'Engle brings to the table is a cursory knowledge of astronomy, the imagination of a brown paper sack, and half-assed characters designed only to demonstrate her personal beliefs.

Jessica

"It was a dark and stormy night."After reading on a friend’s blog that she had recently read this book, I was tempted to do a re-read myself. I was sure I had read it at some point in my childhood, and remember finding it magical and engrossing. So when I came across the book in the thrift store for 99 cents, I couldn’t resist. Once I started reading it, though, it became clear to me that I had probably never read this book before in my life. Not one thing about it seemed familiar to me, except maybe for the centaur-like creatures (but that could be because the book cover features this image). Even though I would have read this more than a decade ago, I still think I would have remembered something about it (for example, I remember aspects of Maniac Magee quite clearly, and I read that ages ago). So I’m not quite sure where I got the idea that this book was fantastical and wonderful, but those were my expectations going in.I’ll admit I was a little let down. I did keep in mind while reading that it’s a children’s book first and foremost, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a little disheveled in places. I loved that the protagonist is female, and quite ordinary (braces, mousy brown hair, glasses), even if she was slightly annoying at times (I imagine all 14-year-olds can be annoying). Time travel is always cool, and the unfamiliar planets (especially Ixchel with its sightless, faceless creatures) were incredibly fun to imagine. The crazy Mrs Ws were very interesting, and if their stories are continued in further books in the quartet, I’d be all over that.The story itself is great – the classic battle of good versus evil in a sci-fi / fantasy setting. The manifestation of evil as a dark cloud reminded me of The Nothing from The NeverEnding Story (loosely). The themes of individuality, love, and acceptance carried strongly throughout; even though they were almost shoved in the reader’s face, I’m ok with that since it is a children’s story.What I didn’t like, primarily, was the character of Charles Wallace. For some reason, he really creeped me out. I understand he is supposed to be “gifted,” but his words and actions seemed far too adult for a 5-year-old. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the religious references made in several places in the story. Too many mentions of “God” turn me off. However, I am willing to admit that it was quite daring of L’Engle to mix religion with some pretty heavy pagan aspects, like witches and crystal balls. Overall, I did enjoy the story and definitely appreciate the themes and values, I was just turned off a little as an adult reader. I also spotted the aforementioned Maniac Magee in said thrift store, but I’m hesitant to re-read that book because I’m worried it might not be the same to me now as it was when I was young.

Book Elf

This is the first time a read a book of Madeleine L'Engle. I dunno what to say. I have mixed emotions on this book after reading it. I liked it and didn't like it at the same time. Maybe because it threw information about science, then it shifted to biblical ~ which I reckon didn't go well together. So I have the same impact on viewing this book. When they mentioned about a song that angels sing~ i recall what I have read in the Bible, in the book of Apocalypse, that those who were saved are singing a new song~ ...also, Aunt Beast said "We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal But the things which are not seen are eternal." Isn't it the line that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:18? And I quote, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."So, I was really not so sure if i liked this book. It supposed to be fictional but the author has mixed the truth with her fiction. And I say that things that are true and sacred shouldn't be used as a part of her own created world.It has so many quotes from famous people too, which she can use, I have no objection on that part. I found the settings weird. The characters were all fallible and weird. So it felt weird reading this book. I was having a headache when reading this book.

Blair

Part of the way through this book I started wondering if the secret of writing a book for children is in the careful deletion of details. Maybe children aren't so closely tied to the words on the page and you must let them invent their own reasons for things - if the characters are there interacting, then it must be for a good reason, to say so explicitly would be to destroy the imagination. But I can't say this is the case with other children stories I've loved, including Little House on the Prairie and Chronicles of Narnia. The authors of those books make the effort to explain the connections between things, the motivation behind the action. The author of A Wrinkle in Time performs a literary tesseract (to use a term from the book) again and again. When the author wants to get from here to there, she merely brings the two together and, presto, it is done.

Keith Mukai

This is a short, easy read that rates a 4.4 on the Flesch-Kincaid reading index (meaning that it requires a 4th-5th grade reading level). But that's based strictly on the sentence structure, vocabulary, paragraph size, etc.What the stats don't cover is the depth of feeling and the profound scope and meaning in this book. Madeleine L'Engle's sentences may be rather simple but her notions of good, evil, love, and devotion are taken to a cosmic level (literally). This isn't mere sci-fi or fantasy; it's gorgeous, breathtaking Humanism. L'Engle never talks down to her child/young adult audience; though she aims at their level there are plenty of weighty, inspiring themes for adults to savor. The child-centric focus gives it a level of simplicity, yes, but also a kind of intense purity. She brilliantly weaves in issues relating to childhood, adolescence, parent-child relationships, maturation, acceptance, social stigma--all of which make the book utterly relatable, even when the kids are transplanted to fantastic or awful new planets in far off galaxies.There are some religious overtones, but they're really more cosmic than religious (even the stars in the galaxy are fighting the great darkness). She uses some of the language of Christianity to express her notion of universal love, but I don't think that should be seen as making this a Christian text. As an agnostic-bordering-on-atheist none of the language turned me off. Christians are free to embrace it as a wildly expansive view of Christianity but non-believers should be able to see that she has a vision that goes beyond the language used.I can't do the book full justice here. Just pick it up and engross yourself in it. It's only about a 4 hour read for most adults and easily well worth it.Do enjoy.

Lisa Vegan

This is a beautifully told story that is basically about love. Important messages about family, friendship, being different, and standing up for what's right. Sci-fi for kids. It says 12 & up but most 9 to 11 year olds enjoy it also. L'Engle introduces concepts from science, philosophy, music, etc., with great imagination. And it's been one of my favorite books since I was 9 and my 4th grade teacher read it to the class. Then my 5th grade teacher read it to us. And then I bought the book for myself, and I still have that copy. I'm always surprised when people are not as enthusiastic as I am about this book. I always cry with emotion at exactly the same place near the end of the book...won't give anything away here. I reread this one every few years and it's a special experience each time. Oh, and I so love the original book cover art that's on the book I own. Leaves all to the imagination unlike the various newer covers.

Cary

Before anything else, I'd like to remind myself why I've been really meaning to read this book. This a Newberry medal award winner in 1963, and since most of the Newberry Medal books that I've read were really good, i assumed I will also find this one entertaining.However, contrary to my assumption, I did not find it as entertaining although I really appreciate how it was written in such a way that you will really have to pay attention it and exercise your imagination to the highest level while reading it so i think this book is just OK.

Philip

My favorite theme/topic in books is time travel. I've always thought it would answer all of the arguments in the world. I mean, Hawking says it's possible, right? And generally, scientifically speaking, his word is gold. Granted, he did say one time that the absence of tourists from the future is a pretty good argument against it. Well, besides... it's not like time travel doesn't exist... it's just that we only know how to progress (and often regress) forward through it.So, I liked this book for what it brought to the time travelling table. And believe me, there's already a lot there... just google it if you don't believe me.I read the fourth (and I think it was the final) book of this series when I was a kid. I loved it. I don't know why I never got around to the beginning.I wasn't a big fan of the plot itself, or even the characters... huh... I'm starting to wonder if 4 stars is too generous. Nah. Time travel takes the cake for me. Takes the cake.

Prashant

This book has deeply disappointed me. At this point of time I can't say if I am more disappointed with myself or with the book. Looking at the high ratings given to this book I have started to doubt if I am too much of a mortal to enjoy science fiction. Will have to check that in future.The plot of this book worked out to be just fine in the first half but then the story started to go bland. The dialogues are boring and I can't feel a scintilla of emotion for any of the characters. The science seemed to be too absurd, the plot too awry and the whole story without any strong character. After enduring the pain for 60 or so pages my patience grew too thin and I had to stop. Maybe the problem is not with the story but with the teller. I Can't point a finger on anything right now but I am very sure I hated it.Maybe because after reading half of it, I saved it thinking that I will read the rest on some calm and propitious day. Well, surely the morning doesn't seem to be that calm anymore! The author would have done a much better job if she had put a little more effort in grooming the charachterss of the book. They are just too shallow. As for me, I am pretty soon going to test my taste for science fiction by reading The Hitchhikers Guide to Galaxy. Does anyone have a better suggestion?

Michael

I can see why this book is a children’s classic; the adventure, intrigue and fantasy world combine together to make a truly fantastic novel. This is the first time I’ve read this book and I do feel like I missed out on experiencing this as a child. The three children in this book are great characters, not the typical sweet kids you seem to find in children’s stories; these kids have flaws and have been told to embrace them. Through their adventures to Camazotz you find that all the kids talents work together to help each other; Calvin shows an interest in philosophy, Meg with her talent for mathematics and Charles' intellectually curious. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, the intrigue kept pushing me through this book. The weirdness of the plot and the world reminded me a little of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass and how much I enjoyed reading that book. Don’t let the fact that this is a Children’s classic stop you from reading this book; like Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland this is equally enjoyable to read as an adult. The philosophical and religious metaphors in the book would make this the perfect book to dissect and explore deeper.

Lindsey Weise

I passed over these series as a child, although I remember wanting to know what the hype was about. I finally picked up this first book and gave it a try. I'll just come out and say it: I was almost annoyed with how bored I was reading this. I'm really confused as to why it was such a big deal! It felt like a short story! I've read a lot of children's books and none of them felt this...lackluster in regards to the content inside the story. I'm not saying I disliked the characters or the events. Those were fine. It felt like someone had the plot outline and then just turned that in as the book. There didn't seem to be much detail or emotion even in any situation in the book. It was like every third sentence had been chopped from the book. Kids are not complete idiots. They can deal with more detail or momentous situations. I'm going to keep reading the series in the second book and see if my opinion changes. I really hope it does change upon further reading.

Sara

the book that first inspired me to tentatively pick up my pencil and my marbled black-and-white composition notebook (remember those?) and write (in 4th grade). the influence l'engle herself and her work have had on my life cannot be understated. i met her many many years later, during college, when she was well into her 80s, but she was exactly as i pictured her-- spirited, engaging, challenging. when i (very nervously and shyly) told her that she gave me my first inspiration to write, she looked me in the eyes and, with a genuineness in her tone i can't describe, thanked me. i gave her my book to be autographed. she signed in it an handed it back to me. as i walked away, i read her inscription, which said, with love and a flourish, "ananda!" i admit it-- i had to look it up to find out what it meant and when i did, my respect for her grew even deeper (i won't get into the entire background of the word/name here, you can google it yourself). "ananda" means bliss or joy. it was so perfect, i nearly cried. an amazing book and an amazing woman.

Khalid

A Wrinkle in Time is a children's fantasy novel with a significant element of science fiction; its thoughtful ideas, intriguing plot and amusing conversation style make it enjoyable to read; yet, it often borders on being overdone.The novel tells us about Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, and there travel in the universe in order to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father. Just like every rescue novel, this was not exactly easy. The novel was generally good; however, it had some problems in my opinion. I do not like it when novel try to push knowledge down your throat, especially on matters like religion. They do that a lot in children's novels, assuming that children aren't smart to pick up implications on their own (so they just put it right out). Children are smart, and they do understand; we should not underestimate them. This novel did try that with many subjects, not just religion. My other problem with this novel is how far the author's imagination gets sometimes. I like some imagination, and don't mind it, but this gets too much. A good fantasy novel, in my opinion, should give the reader enough enforcement of the world rules they have already been shown before bringing up new rules or exceptions. Why is it almost different every time they tesseract? The story doesn't give enough feel of consistency.

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