Recent Reading: The Time Quartet

The Time Quartet, by Madeleine L’Engle. It’s supposed to be kid’s literature, but I was fascinated enough by the last time I read Wrinkle several years ago, that I decided to see what the rest of the series was like.

  1. A Wrinkle In Time. The first and best of the series. Still, I had to scratch my head at the manner in which L’Engle lumps Jesus in with artists and intellectuals like Michelangelo and Shakespeare and Euclid, all warriors in a cosmic battle of love and creativity against the spreading darkness of cold, hateful, unthinking conformism. But at its core, within the context of a mixed new-age science-fiction mythos, the story is a battle between good and evil, with good winning, so that’s got to be, um, good.
  2. A Wind in the Door. Mitochondria? Kything? An entire climactic scene set in the dark, mystical insides of a character’s cellular world? Okay, something about this one rubbed me in weird directions. It chafed my endoplasmic reticulum, so to speak.
  3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet. Time travel, and more characters than I could count across generations. It was like Star Trek: Enterprise meets Russka. The awkward handling of world events and hippie-flavored political moralizing didn’t help, either. I had to skim this one. Maybe I’ll give it another try after I’ve recovered from Star Trek-driven time travel plot fatigue.
  4. Many Waters. A much more “immersive” (haha, get it?) read than the last two; the biblical-historical fiction approach of placing the Murray twins in the days of Noah drew me right into their struggles with a depraved society and concupiscent Nephilim, and their love for petite young topless prehistoric babes. It was like an episode of Superbook or Flying House — but with a lot more quasi-erotic polyamorous innuendo. And I’ve heard of Enoch, and Yalith is no Enoch. Still, good storytelling with heart-pounding conflicts, but I’m not sure I’d recommend it for the younger ones.

So, all in all, the series is about half-good (one could say it isn’t half-bad, perhaps), but I humbly opine that Wrinkle was still the best of the four, and stands quite well alone without its sequels, carrying the clearest and deepest lessons on hope, faith, love, courage, and adventure.