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Meg Murry, bespectacled, gangly and an outcast at school, desperately misses her father, a quantum physicist who has mysteriously disappeared. But when she and her precocious little brother, Charles Wallace, meet ancient shape-shifters Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, they and their friend Calvin O’Keefe are swept away on an adventure across time and space to rescue their father.
A heady blend of fantasy, suspense thriller and science fiction, A Wrinkle in Time is deliciously fast-paced and brimming with rich wordplay. The children travel to the planet Camazotz, a sinister place where everyone must conform. Here they join a cosmic battle to defeat the Black Thing, an evil force spreading its shadows over Earth, and the all-consuming power of IT. When Charles Wallace falls under IT’s hypnotic control, Meg must search inside her own heart for the means to save him, remembering her father’s wise words, ‘Don’t be afraid to be afraid.’
Like so many other books now considered classics, A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by dozens of publishers. In her introduction to this Folio edition, which is accompanied by colourful paintings by Sam Richwood, Meg Rosoff suggests that this could only be because Madeleine L’Engle’s masterpiece was ‘too odd, too unruly, too difficult to pigeonhole, too full of ideas, too scratchy, too ahead of its time. Too different. In short, too good.’ Finally published in 1962, it won America’s most important prize for children’s books, the Newbery Medal, and has since sold millions of copies.
The characters face psychological battles, fall in love and grapple with Euclidean geometry. They learn that individuality is worth standing up for, as L’Engle well knew, despite her book’s numerous rejections: ‘You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.’
© Leonard S. Marcus 2015
‘You mean you’re comparing our lives to a sonnet? A strict form, but freedom within it?’
‘Yes,’ Mrs Whatsit said. ‘You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.’
Madeleine L’Engle was born in 1918 in New York. She studied in Switzerland and the United States, graduating with honours from Smith College in Massachusetts in 1941. Returning to New York, she worked in the theatre before her first novel, The Small Rain, was published in 1945. She went on to write over 60 books for children and adults, including collections of essays, plays, and poetry. A Wrinkle in Time (1962) won the Newbery Medal, and L’Engle was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards lifetime achievement award from the American Library Association in 1998, and the National Humanities Medal in 2004. She died in 2007.
Meg Rosoff is an American novelist. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, she was educated at Harvard University before moving to London to study sculpture at Saint Martin’s School of Art. She lived in New York for ten years, returning to England in 1989. She worked in publishing, journalism, politics and advertising before her first novel, How I Live Now, was published in 2004. Rosoff has won or been shortlisted for 20 international book prizes, and was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Just in Case (2006). Her most recent novel is Picture Me Gone (2013).
Sam Richwood is a graphic designer and illustrator. He graduated from the University of Hertfordshire, England, in 2011 with a degree in illustration, and soon after his work was shown at, among others, the Saatchi Gallery and Sotheby’s in London. Since then he has continued to paint and draw, using a mixed medium to achieve his distinctive style. As well as working as an illustrator, Richwood also involved in fine art and has helped to set up and show work at various pop-up exhibitions around London and Hertfordshire.
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Review by anon on 12th Sep 2017
"I read this book when I was a child but I was never able to fully get into it. Now, over ten years later, I decided to pick the novel up again and wanted a nice copy to read. The Folio Society's editi..." [read more]
Review by PAULALOUD on 27th Jun 2015
"I was thrilled when Folio brought back this childhood classic. It was a favorite of mine. Re-reading it now over 25 years later, it still captivates me. As an adult, I now appreciate the Shakespearean..." [read more]