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A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Madeleine L'Engle's 1978 sequel to "A Wrinkle in Time".

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I found my daughter's name here!

  • Jun 25, 2010

One of the things I like best about Madeleine L'Engle's writing is that there's no foreplay. You are immediately drawn into the story, from the very first page. A Swiftly Tilting Planet is no exception. The third volume in her Time Travel trilogy stands on its own as a complete story, while at the same time continuing the story of the Murray family.

Meg Murray has become Meg O'Keefe by marrying Calvin O'Keefe, whose mother has come to join the family for Thanksgiving dinner while Calvin is away. Meg's relatiship with her younger brother, Charles Wallace, is still the heartbeat of the book. Two new fantasy characters appear, the Echthroi, demon-like creatures who stand for Evil, and Gaudior, a unicorn, who personifies Good. The Echthroi reminded me of the the Wicked Witch's flying monkeys, from the Wizard of Oz.

I found my eldest daughter's name in this book. The Murrays old dog, Fortinbras has passed on and Meg misses him. Suddenly a new dog shows up, a "yaller" dog, with some Golden Retiever in her. Charles Wallace announces that her name is Ananda, and explains that it means "that joy in existence without which the universe will fall apart and collapse". His mother comments that it's a big name. He replies that she's a big dog, and that's her name.

I was re-reading this book during my first pregnancy in 1982. Because I had high hopes for her, coming of age as she would at the Millenium, I names her Ananda. Five years later, her birthday fell on the Harmonic Convergence. She has been, and continues to be, my joy.

This is a wonderful story for a family read-aloud, and as a piece of young adult fiction. The central plot device deals with travelling back through time, using a rune to change the present. By altering the "Might-Have-Been", different outcome streams are created. L'Engle deconstructs the rune to use for chapter headings, and uses it repetitively to tie the chapters and characters together. It is and has been a great comfort to me from my first reading of the book

One thing L'Engle has always done for me through her children's books, is bring different scientific concepts and facts to my attention. Nowadays we know how important mitochondrial DNA is; I first came across it when I first read the second book in the trilogy (A Wind in the Door). The concept that even the most infinitessimal things can hold the key to the universe is her core assumption. She illustrates it beautifully once again in A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

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June 30, 2010
I absolutely adore this trilogy. I read them all as a child. It's been too long since a re-read, so I'm probably going to check out "A Wrinkle in Time" again in the near future!
More A Swiftly Tilting Planet reviews
Quick Tip by . July 01, 2010
One of the most influential books of my childhood.
Quick Tip by . June 28, 2010
Great book!
Quick Tip by . June 23, 2010
I found my daughter's name here!!
Quick Tip by . June 19, 2010
one of my fave authors
Quick Tip by . June 16, 2010
One of my fave series, period.
Quick Tip by . June 02, 2010
I wish I liked this book.
About the reviewer
Trece Wyman ()
I'm an overweight, petite bodybuilder-in-training seeking my bliss. I want to create a location-independent lifestyle and spend the rest of my life doing everything I want, not paying any attention … more
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Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy
Format: Novel

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