Meg and her brilliant but eccentric younger brother, Charles Wallace, share adventures as they travel through time and space to rescue their father, a scientist. Their father had been doing research on “tessering,” a form of space and time travel, when he disappeared. With the help of three beings who call themselves Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, and a new friend, Calvin O’Keefe, they “tesser” to the planet of Camazotz. There the children’s father is imprisoned behind the Black Thing, an evil force in the universe. The Black Thing is helped by the power of IT, a disembodied brain that controls all the people of Camazotz.
On Camazotz, Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin fight against the power of IT. Charles Wallace voluntarily succumbs to IT to get information, while Meg works to free her father. Meg succeeds. Her father then tessers Meg and Calvin off the planet. Unfortunately, Charles Wallace is left behind. After this narrow escape from the cold power of IT, Meg faces the enormous physical and moral challenge of returning to Camazotz to save Charles Wallace. Because of her love for her brother, she goes, and by expressing this love, she is able to free him.
Through Meg’s voice, author Madeleine L’Engle weaves a powerful narrative. L’Engle combines the realism of Meg’s emotional journey with the fantastic world of tessering, IT, and the Black Thing.
Some misunderstood teenagers need to find their own way in life.
Some are fortunate enough to do this while traveling through space and time.
Science fiction is a genre of fiction in which the stories often tell about science and technology of the future. The plot creates situations different from those of what is happening today and what has happened in the past. Science fiction books include a human element, explaining what effect new discoveries, happenings and scientific developments will have on us in the future.
Science fiction is often set in the future, in space, on a different world, or in a different universe of dimension.
"A Wrinkle in Time combines devices of fairy tales, overtones of fantasy, the philosophy of great lives, the visions of science, and the warmth of a good family story. It is an exuberant book, original, vital, exciting. Funny ideas, fearful images, amazing characters, and beautiful concepts sweep through it. And it is full of truth." —Ruth Hill, A Critical History of Children’s Literature
Madeleine L’Engle Camp was born in 1918 in New York City, the only child of Madeleine Hall Barnett, of Jacksonville, Florida, and Charles Wadsworth Camp, a Princeton man and First World War veteran, whose family had a big country place in New Jersey, called Crosswicks. In Jacksonville society, the Barnett family was legendary: Madeleine’s grandfather, Bion Barnett, the chairman of the board of Jacksonville’s Barnett Bank, had run off with a woman to the South of France, leaving behind a note on the mantel. Her grandmother, Caroline Hallows L’Engle, never recovered from the blow.
“The Barnett scandal was just incredible for Jacksonville,” Francis Mason says. Mason, who is now in his eighties, is Madeleine’s cousin on her father’s side. He is the editor of Ballet Review and the chairman of the board of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance. He recalls, “England had the Windsors, we had the Barnetts. In Jacksonville, we called Bion Barnett ‘King Tut.’ ”
Madeleine’s parents were the kind of couple whose devotion to each other can stymie children. They rose late, read aloud to each other, and went out most nights. In their apartment on the East Side, Madeleine ate her meals on a tray in her room. Her mother played the piano; her father, after a stint as a foreign correspondent, wrote potboilers. At school, she was terrible at sports and, she says, thought to be stupid (though at least one of her school reports belies this); like Meg Murry, she felt gangly, needy, bullied, and dismayed. She hated the school so much that to this day she won’t say which one it was. Her granddaughter Charlotte Jones recalls that when she herself was in private school in New York, half a century later, she was terrified of playing competitive sports: any girls’ school could be that school, still full of tormentors.
One morning in Switzerland, at the end of a summer spent abroad, when Madeleine was twelve years old, her parents drove through the gates of Chatelard, a boarding school for girls, introduced her to the headmistress, and left her there. She was completely unprepared. “I shook hands with the matron, and they vanished,” L’Engle said. She was sitting in her high-back wing chair in the West End Avenue apartment. “My parents had diametrically opposed views on how to raise me. In New York, even once they knew the school wasn’t the right place for me my father kept me there, to teach my mother a lesson, because it had been her idea.”
In addition to her novels, L’Engle is the author of several books of memoirs, including “The Crosswicks Journal,” which was published in several volumes and is about her life in Connecticut, and includes the book “Two-Part Invention,” which tells the story of her marriage to Hugh Franklin. In these accounts, young Madeleine is sent to boarding school because her father was gassed in the war. He needs to travel endlessly in search of air clear enough for him to breathe. She knows that she is loved, though: she stays with her parents during school holidays. One day, however, she told me that she almost never saw her parents during school vacations. She spent the holidays in Provence, with her grandfather. During the long afternoons, she read his collection ofPunch.
When Madeleine was about fifteen, her parents returned from Europe—the search for clear air apparently abandoned—and went to live in Jacksonville. After the move, she was released from Chatelard and sent to Ashley Hall, in Charleston. Of her peregrinations, her Jacksonville relatives said, “Where have they shipped that girl off to now?” Madeleine, in turn, found Florida stultifying and surreal: one afternoon, she watched an alligator pick its way up the porch steps. But, to her surprise, she adored Ashley Hall. “We did Shakespeare, and the Chester Cycle. We had a Miss McBee, who was mad about the theatre. The teachers thought I was bright, and I was elected class president. It was extraordinary.” During her last year, her father caught pneumonia, and, according to L’Engle, his weakened lungs gave out. Francis Mason was fifteen years old, and the funeral was at his family’s house in Jacksonville.