25 November 2010

A Swiftly Tilting Planet

A Swiftly Tilting Planet is the third book (in publication order) of Madeline L'Engle's "Time Quartet."  It follows the same cast of characters as the prior two: Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, boyfriend Calvin O'Keefe, and their family.  Planet also introduced unicorn Gaudior and Calvin's mother, who goes by "Mom O'Keefe" throughout much of the book.

While prior novels focused on Meg, Planet focuses heavily on Charles Wallace, though still uses Meg as either counterpoint or as the point of view - she spends the book "kything" with Charles Wallace, a kind of mental telepathy - so even though we are seeing what Charles Wallace sees, we are really seeing Meg see what Charles Wallace sees.

Convoluted as this sounds, it actually works out well.  L'Engle pulls it off just right, and Meg, now a grown woman expecting her first child, is much less annoying to me than she was in prior works.

Charles Wallace has to go with Gaudior on a journey through time to avert a nuclear war in the present, and does so by inhabiting the bodies of people who lived in the past.  This is some of L'Engle's most affecting work to me: she explores all kinds of adult themes which I hadn't expected to see, like betrayal, unrequited love, even domestic abuse.  One of the most emotionally intense scenes involves a young boy being pushed down the stairs and fracturing his skull when his stepfather tries to strike the boy's grandmother.

In the end, of course, things work out well - L'Engle is not the type of author to destroy the world at the end of her books.  So far, Planet is my favorite of the bunch.


Books: Reading Many Waters.

Bottles: Drank Paul Pernet et ses Fils Bourgogne 2007 (white Burgundy) with Thanksgiving dinner.  Will be writing about it later.

Writing: Alas, no.  Crazy day.

Guitar: Ditto.