In Press

The new Disney film based on Madeleine L’Engle’s best-loved novel has led fans back to the book itself and to the question of just who was the author who so deftly intertwined elements of science fiction, spirituality, fantasy, and family drama in a tautly constructed coming-of-age story that has shaped the lives of three generations of young readers.

Read the full article here on the New York Times website, or below:

As ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ Hits Screens, Read These Books

By Concepción De León
March 9, 2018

By Madeleine L’Engle
216 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (1962)

It is worth revisiting the classic story of Meg Murry, a young, bright girl who travels across the universe to find her missing scientist father. She is accompanied by her younger brother, Charles Wallace, and a high school boy, Calvin O’Keefe. Together, they traverse the universe via a tesseract, which is “a way to travel through time and space using a fifth dimension,” and along the way, they encounter celestial beings named Mrs Who, Mrs Which and Mrs Whatsit, who help them on their journey. In an essay, Pamela Paul, the editor of The Times Book Review, wrote that Meg “was a departure from the typical ‘girls’ book’ protagonist,” and that though she suffered through “flyaway hair, braces and glasses,” she was “to a much greater degree concerned with the extent of her own intelligence, the whereabouts of her missing scientist father, the looming threat of conformity and, ultimately, the fate of the universe.”

A Portrait of Madeleine L’Engle in Many Voices
By Leonard S. Marcus
363 pp. Farrar, Straus & Giroux. (2012)

This unconventional biography brings together a cacophony of voices to speak on L’Engle — family members like her daughter and two grandchildren; writers like Judy Blume and T. A. Barron; and L’Engle’s editors and students. The writer, who was beloved by many and poured much time into leading writing workshops and giving speaking engagements, found it difficult to relate to her children, who resented aspects of their lives being fictionalized in L’Engle’s stories. “Listening for Madeleine” is a collection of interviews that paint a contradictory picture of a woman grappling with motherhood, her career and the fame it afforded her.

The Broken Earth: Book One
By N. K. Jemisin
498 pp. Orbit. (2015)

This Hugo Award-winning novel — the first in a trilogy — centers on three women who, in the beginning of the book, find their worlds unraveling in various ways. Damaya, Syenite and Essun live in the Stillness, a land in constant flux, prone to destructive tectonic catastrophes. Essun is a small-town schoolteacher whose husband kills their son and kidnaps their daughter, leaving her to embark on a rescue mission. Damaya is a young girl and orogene, meaning that she has the power to manipulate the elements; this renders her both a target and a desirable object, and she is taken from her home for training to serve the empire. Syenite is an orogene, too, sent on a mission with her mentor that leads her to discover truths she was never meant to know. Our reviewer praised Jemisin’s “intricate and extraordinary world-building,” and wrote that her heroes’ escapes are not merely personal victories: “Her heroes achieve escape velocity, smashing through oppressive systems and leaving them behind like shed skins.”

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