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A Wrinkle in Time Book (Summary - Review - Book Order - Online Reading - Download - Madeleine L'Engle - PDF)

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Author Madeleine L'Engle
Illustrator Ellen Raskin (1960s editions)
Country United States
Language English
Series Time Quintet
Genre Young AdultScience fantasy
Publisher Ariel Books
Publication date
January 1, 1962
OCLC 22421788
LC Class PZ7.L5385 Wr 1962
Followed by A Wind in the Door

(Summary - Review - Book Order - Online Reading - Download - Madeleine L'Engle - PDF)

A Wrinkle in Time is a science fiction novel written by the American author Madeleine L'Engle, published for the first time in 1962. The book won the Newbery Medal, the Sequoyah Book Award and the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was a finalist by Hans Christian Andersen. Prize. Throughout the novel, the young characters Meg Murry, Charles Wallace Murry and Calvin O'Keefe embark on a journey through space and time, from one universe to another, as they try to save their father and the world. The novel offers a glimpse into the battles between light and darkness, goodness and evil, as the young characters become teenagers on their journey. The novel struggles with questions of spirituality and purpose since the characters are often involved in conflicts of love, divinity, and kindness. It is the first book in L'Engle's Time Quintet, which follows Murrys and Calvin O'Keefe.

L'Engle reflected the Murry family after hers. Academic Bernice E. Cullinan noted that L'Engle created characters that "share a common joy with a mixed fantasy and science fiction environment." The scientific and religious nuances of the novel are, therefore, highly reflective about the life of L'Engle.

The book inspired two film adaptations, both from Disney: a 2003 television movie directed by John Kent Harrison and a 2018 theater film directed by Ava DuVernay.

Summary
Meg Murry's 13-year-old peers and teachers see her as a problem and stubborn student. Her family knows that she is emotionally immature, but she also sees her as capable of great things. The family includes its scientific mother Katherine, the missing scientific father Alexander, the twins Sandy and Dennys, and the five-year-old brother Charles Wallace Murry, a childish genius who can sometimes read Meg's mind.

The book begins with the line "It was a dark and stormy night", an allusion to the opening words of the novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, 1830, Paul Clifford. Unable to sleep during a storm, Meg descends from her attic room to find Charles Wallace sitting at the table drinking milk and eating bread and jam. They were joined by their mother and visited by their new eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Whatsit. During the conversation, Ms. Whatsit casually mentions that there is something like a tesseract, which makes Katherine almost faint.

The next morning, Meg discovers that the term refers to a scientific concept in which her father was working before his mysterious disappearance. The following afternoon, Meg and Charles Wallace meet up with Meg's schoolmate, Calvin O'Keefe, a high school student who, although popular at school, is also considered a misfit. Then they visit an old haunted house near the town that Charles Wallace already knows is the home of Mrs. Whatsit. There, they find two companions of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who equally strange and the invisible voice of Ms. Which. She promises that she and her friends will help Meg find and rescue her father. At night, Charles Wallace declares that it is time for them to go on a mission to save their father. This is accompanied by the appearance of the third member of Ms. W, Ms., who seems to materialize from nothing.

Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Who happen to be supernatural beings who transport Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe throughout the universe through the tesseract, a fifth-dimensional phenomenon explained as folding the fabric of space and time. The first stop is the planet Uriel, a utopian world full of beings similar to centaurs who live in a state of light and love. Does Mrs. Whatsit show that she, Mrs. Who and Mrs. What are these creatures similar to centaurs disguised as humans? Mrs. Ws reveals to the children that the universe is being attacked by an evil being that appears as a great dark cloud called The Black Thing, which is essentially the personification of evil. The children are taken to visit the Half Happy, a woman with a crystal ball through which they see that the Earth is partially covered by darkness, although great religious figures, philosophers, scientists, and artists have been fighting against it. It is revealed that Ms. Whatsit is an ancient star who exploded in an act of self-sacrifice to fight against darkness.

The children travel to the dark planet of Camazotz, which has succumbed to the Black Thing. Meg's father is trapped on the planet. They find that all inhabitants behave mechanically and seem to be under the control of only one mind. At the central headquarters of the planet, CENTRAL Central Intelligence, they discover a red-eyed telepathic man who can cast hypnotic spells and claims to know his father's whereabouts. Charles Wallace deliberately looks at the man's red eyes, allowing himself to be hypnotized to find his father. Under the influence of man, he takes Meg and Calvin to the place where Alexander is imprisoned because he would not succumb to the mind of the group.

The planet is controlled by an evil, disembodied brain with powerful abilities, which the inhabitants of Camazotz call "IT". Charles Wallace takes them to the place where it takes place. In such proximity to IT, children are vulnerable to a possible telepathic taking of their minds. With the special powers of Ms. Who's glasses, Alexander can "teaser" Calvin, Meg and himself away from Camazotz, but Charles Wallace stays behind, still under the influence of TI. Dr. Murry, inexperienced in tessering, does not know how to protect Meg from the Black Thing, almost killing her. When they reach the neighboring planet of Ixchel, Meg is almost frozen and paralyzed. Calvin and the Murrys are discovered by the inhabitants of the planet: great beasts without eyes, with featureless faces, tentacles and four arms, which prove to be wise and kind. Meg's paralysis is cured under the care of an inhabitant, whom Meg calls "aunt beast". Meg overcomes her anger towards her father for leaving Charles Wallace in Camazotz, realizing that parents can not fix everything and sometimes children can solve problems themselves.

Then the trio of Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Que arrive. They accuse Meg of rescuing Charles Wallace from YOU because only Meg has a strong enough bond with him while his father had seen Charles Wallace for the last time as a baby and Calvin had just met him. Each one gives Meg a gift. Mrs. Whatsit gives Meg her love. Mrs. Who quotes Meg from a Bible passage about God choosing the fools of the world to confuse the wise and the weak to overcome the strong (1 Corinthians 1: 27-29). Ms. Que tells Meg that she has one thing that IT does not have but does not specify what it is. Upon arriving at the building where IT resides, they find Charles Wallace under the influence of TI. Meg realizes that the only thing that IT does not have is love. She focuses all her love on Charles Wallace and can free him from IT control. Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which and Mrs. Whatsit tesser the Murrys and Calvin back to Earth. In the garden, everyone meets Katherine and the twins. Ms. Whatsit says that although she and the others like the family reunion show, they have to go somewhere. Before Mrs. Whatsit finishes her prayer, she and the others disappear.

Review
"A fantasy story that comes from the age that sympathizes with the awkwardness and insecurity typical of teenagers, highlighting the courage, ingenuity and the importance of family ties as a key to overcoming them."

About the author

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Madeleine L'Engle (1918–2007) was born in New York City and attended Smith College. She wrote more than 60 books, the most famous of which is A Wrinkle In Time(1962), winner of the Newbery Award in 1963. L'Engle continued the story of the Murry family from A Wrinkle In Time with seven other novels (five of which are available as A Wrinkle In Time Quintent from Square Fish). She also wrote the famous series featuring the Austin family, beginning with the novel Meet The Austins(1960). L'Engle revisited the Austins four more times over the next three decades, concluding with Troubling a Star in 1994. The story of the Austins had some autobiographical elements, mirroring Madeleine's life and the life of her family. Madeleine L'Engle's last book, The Joys of Love, is a romantic, coming-of-age story she wrote back in the 1940s and is being published by FSG.