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  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Written by Madeleine L'Engle
    Read by Hope Davis
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  • A Wrinkle in Time
  • Written by Madeleine L'Engle
    Read by Hope Davis
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A Wrinkle in Time

Written by Madeleine L'EngleAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Madeleine L'Engle
Read by Hope DavisAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Hope Davis

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Read by Hope Davis
On Sale: January 10, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-91658-7
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Read by Hope Davis
On Sale: January 10, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-307-91657-0
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

This special edition of A Wrinkle in Time includes a new essay that explores the science behind the fantasy.Rediscover one of the most beloved children's books of all time: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle:Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time. Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?


From the Trade Paperback edition.

Excerpt

From the New Introduction
A Stardust Journey with A Wrinkle in Time
By Lisa Sonne

A Wrinkle in Time was written before any human had walked on the moon or sent rovers to Mars. It was a time before cell phones and personal computers, before digital cameras, CDs, and DVDs, before the fiction of Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Matrix, and before the realities of the space shuttle, the Mir space station, and the International Space Station. Science has changed dramatically as generations of children and adults have read the book since it was first published in 1962. Those scientific advances make Madeleine L’Engle’s story even more compelling.
The author of A Wrinkle in Time is a tall woman who sometimes wears a purple cape. She will tell you that she is completely made of stardust and always has been. No kidding. “You are made of stardust, too,” she will add with a twinkle in her eye.
This is not the wild imagination of a creative writer’s mind. We are all made of stardust. Our little molecules are the leftovers of big stars that exploded eons ago. Mrs. Whatsit may be a fanciful character who gave up her life as a star to fight the darkness, but we are real creatures who really are made of the cosmic dust of supernovas. When giant stars explode, they send their matter out into the universe and enrich all the yet-to-be-born stars and planets with the chemical ingredients that make up life as we know it. Astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “It’s a profound, underappreciated truth.”
Stardust is just one way that Madeleine L’Engle mixes fact and fantasy to inspire you to want to know more about science. With knowledge come more questions. With imagination comes more curiosity. With searching comes more truth. That blend is a specialty of L’Engle’s.
Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin visit different planets outside our solar system. When A Wrinkle in Time was first printed in 1962, scientists could confirm the existence of only nine planets–all of them orbiting our sun. Since 1995, astronomers have been finding planets at an average rate of one a month–all outside our solar system.
Throughout A Wrinkle in Time, the universe is in a struggle with the Black Thing. L’Engle wrote of the Black Thing before astronomers found black holes, which suck up everything around them, and long before scientists announced that almost all of our universe is composed of invisible “dark matter” and “dark energy,” which science knows almost nothing about.
In the thin atmosphere of Uriel, Meg has to breathe from a flower to stay alive. In reality, we all breathe plants to stay alive. NASA conducts experiments to see how plants could help keep astronauts alive when they travel in space and live on other planets.
In A Wrinkle in Time, we meet thinking aliens in outer space, including Aunt Beast, the Man with Red Eyes, and Mrs. Who. Since 1962, explorers have gone to remote spots on our planet, studying “extremophile” life to learn more about what life out there in space might really be like.
Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin travel through multiple dimensions. When A Wrinkle in Time first appeared, science recognized only four dimensions–three of space and one of time. Now mathematicians claim that at least nine spatial dimensions are needed to explain our physical world–maybe ten. Maybe more.
Just looking at how technology and science have changed since Meg’s first adventure was printed is a kind of time travel in your mind that shows how much science and math have grown, and how much they still need to grow. When Meg’s father urges her to name the elements of the periodic table to escape the dark forces of IT, she begins reciting, “Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine . . .” and continues. Only 103 elements were known in 1962. In 2004, to finish reciting the elements on the periodic table, Meg would need to add more tongue-twisters, such as rutherfordium, meitnerium, darmstadtium, and roentgenium (element number 111). New elements are still being discovered, created, and debated.
Scientists and astronauts are delving further into the tiny world of microorganisms that Meg’s mother studied, and further into the giant realms that Meg’s father traveled in. Since 1962, scientists have discovered quarks and quasars, things smaller and bigger than ever known before–smaller than a proton in an atom and larger than a galaxy. What next?
“Students can get so bombarded in science classes and think that all is known. It’s not. A book like this can help them realize that we know some things, but really very, very little. And maybe a lot of what we know now is not right!” says Shannon Lucid, a science fiction reader and astronaut who has spent more time in space than any other woman. There are still big unanswered questions and great quests yet to begin.
For Madeleine L’Engle, every good story and every good life is a search for answers through fiction, fact, and spirit. The poet, the physicist, and the prophet are all searching to understand the dimensions we can’t see, whether gravity, time, or love. A Wrinkle in Time is a great journey through dimensions–a journey of exploration and discovery, curiosity and awe.

From A Wrinkle In TIme
"Now, don't be frightened, loves," Mrs. Whatsit said. Her plump little body began to shimmer, to quiver, to shift. The wild colors of her clothes became muted, whitened. The pudding-bag shape stretched, lengthened, merged. And suddenly before the children was a creature more beautiful than any Meg had even imagined, and the beauty lay in far more than the outward description. Outwardly Mrs. Whatsit was surely no longer a Mrs. Whatsit. She was a marble-white body with powerful flanks, something like a horse but at the same time completely unlike a horse, for from the magnificently modeled back sprang a nobly formed torso, arms, and a head resembling a man's, but a man with a perfection of dignity and virtue, an exaltation of joy such as Meg had never before seen. No, she thought, it's not like a Greek centaur. Not in the least.

From the shoulders slowly a pair of wings unfolded, wings made of rainbows, of light upon water, of poetry.

Calvin fell to his knees.

"No," Mrs. Whatsit said, though her voice was not Mrs. Whatsit's voice. "Not to me, Calvin. Never to me. Stand up."

"Ccarrry themm," Mrs. Which commanded.

With a gesture both delicate and strong Mrs. Whatsit knelt in front of the children, stretching her wings wide and holding them steady, but quivering. "Onto my back, now," the new voice said.

The children took hesitant steps toward the beautiful creature.


From the Paperback edition.
Madeleine L'Engle|Hope Davis

About Madeleine L'Engle

Madeleine L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time

Photo © Kenneth S. Lewis

Madeleine L'Engle was the author of more than forty-five books for all ages, among them the beloved A Wrinkle in Time, awarded the Newbery Medal; A Ring of Endless Light, a Newbery Honor Book; A Swiftly Tilting Planet, winner of the American Book Award; and the Austin family series of which Troubling a Star is the fifth book. L'Engle was named the 1998 recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards award, honoring her lifetime contribution in writing for teens.

Ms. L'Engle was born in 1918 in New York City, late in her parents' lives,an only child growing up in an adult world. Her father was a journalist who had been a foreign correspondent, and although he suffered from mustard gas poisoning in World War I, his work still took him abroad a great deal. Her mother was a musician; the house was filled with her parents' friends: artists, writers, and musicians. "Their lives were very full and they didn't really have time for a child," she says. "So I turned to writing to amuse myself."

When she was 12, Ms. L'Engle moved with her family to the French Alps in search of purer air for her father's lungs. She was sent to an English boarding school --"dreadful," she says. When she was 14, her family returned to America and she went to boarding school once again, Ashley Hall in Charleston, South Carolina--which she loved. When she was 17, her father died.

Ms. L'Engle spent the next four years at Smith College. After graduating cum laude, she and an assortment of friends moved to an apartment in Greenwich Village. "I still wanted to be a writer; I always wanted to be a writer, but I had to pay the bills, so I went to work in the theater," she says.

Touring as an actress seems to have been a catalyst for her. She wrote her first book, The Small Rain, while touring with Eva Le Gallienne in Uncle Harry. She met Hugh Franklin, to whom she was married until his death in 1986, while they were rehearsing The Cherry Orchard, and they were married on tour during a run of The Joyous Season, starring Ethel Barrymore.

Ms. L'Engle retired from the stage after her marriage, and the Franklins moved to northwest Connecticut and opened a general store. "The surrounding area was real dairy farmland then, and very rural. Some of the children had never seen books when they began their first year of school," she remembers. The Franklins raised three children--Josephine, Maria, and Bion. Ms. L'Engle's first book in the Austin quintet, Meet the Austins, an ALA Notable Children's Book, has strong parallels with her life in the country. But she says, "I identify with Vicky rather than with Mrs. Austin, since I share all of Vicky's insecurities, enthusiasms, and times of sadness and growth."

When, after a decade in Connecticut, the family returned to New York, Ms. L'Engle rejoiced. "In some ways, I was back in the real world." Mr. Franklin resumed acting, and became well known as Dr. Charles Tyler in the television series All My Children. Two-Part Invention is Ms. L'Engle's touching and critically acclaimed story of their long and loving marriage.

The Time quintet--A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time--are among her most famous books, but it took years to get a publisher to accept A Wrinkle in Time. "Every major publisher turned it down. No one knew what to do with it," she says. When Farrar, Straus & Giroux finally accepted the manuscript, she insisted that they publish it as a children's book. It was the beginning of their children's list."

After splitting her time between New York City and Connecticut and acting as the librarian and writer-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Madeleine L’Engle died on September 7, 2007 at the age of 88. Ms. L’Engle will be remembered as a great writer who truly devoted herself to her work. “I think that fantasy must possess the author and simply use him,” she once said. “I know that is true of A Wrinkle in Time. I cannot possibly tell you how I came to write it. It was simply a book I had to write. I had no choice. It was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant.”


Author Fun Facts

Born
November 29 in New York City

Education
Smith College, The New School, Columbia University

Currently lives
New York City and Connecticut

Fun Jobs
Librarian, actress

Favorite…
…hobbies: traveling, reading, playing the piano, and cooking


A Special Message from Madeleine L'Engle

"
I wrote my first story when I was 5. It was about a little G-R-U-L, because that’s how I spelled “girl” when I was 5. I wrote because I wanted to know what everything was about. My father, before I was born, had been gassed in the first World War, and I wanted to know why there wer wars, why people hurt each other, why we couldn’t get along together, and what made people tick. That’s why I started to write stories.

The books I read most as a child were by Lucy Maud Montgomery, who’s best known for her Anne of Green Gables stories, but I also liked Emily of New Moon. Emily was an only child, as I was. Emily lived on an island, as did I. Although Manhattan Island and Prince Edward Island are not very much alike, they are still islands. Emily’s father was dying of bad lungs, and so was mine. Emily had some dreadful relative, and so did I. She had a hard time in school, and she also understood that there’s more to life than just the things that can be explained by encyclopedias and facts. Facts alone are not adequate. I love Emily. I also read E. Nesbit, who was a nineteenth-century writer of fantasies and family stories, and I read fairy tales and the myths of all countries. And anything I could get my hands on.

As an adult, I like to read fiction. I really enjoy good murder mystery writers, usually women, frequently English, because they have a sense of what the human soul is about and why people do dark and terrible things. I also read quite a lot in the area of particle physics and quantum mechanics, because this is theology. This is about the nature of being. This is what life is all about. I try to read as widely as I possibly can.

I wrote A Wrinkle in Time when we were living in a small dairy farm village in New England. I had three small children to raise, and life was not easy. We lost four of our closest friends within two years by death--that’s a lot of death statistically. And I really wasn’t finding the answers to my big questions in the logical places. So, at the time I discovered the world of particle physics. I discovered Einstein and relativity. I read a book of Einstein’s, in which he said that anyone who’s not lost in rapturous awe at the power and glory of the mind behind the universe is as good as a burnt-out candle. And I thought, “Oh, I’ve found my theologian, what a wonderful thing.” I began to read more in that area. A Wrinkle in Time came out of these questions, and out of my discovery of the post-utopian sciences, which knocked everything we knew about science for a loop.

A Wrinkle in Time was almost never published. You can’t name a major publisher who didn’t reject it. And there were many reasons. One was that it was supposedly too hard for children. Well, my children were 7, 10, and 12 while I was writing it. I’d read to them at night what I’d written during the day, and they’d say, “Ooh, mother, go back to the typewriter!” A Wrinkle in Time” had a female protagonist in a science fiction book, and that wasn’t done. And it dealt with evil and things that you don’t find, or didn’t at that time, in children’s books. When we’d run through forty-odd publishers, my agent sent it back. We gave up. Then my mother was visiting for Christmas, and I gave her a tea party for some of her old friends. One of them happened to belong to a small writing group run by John Farrar, of Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which at that time did not have a juvenile list. She insisted that I meet John any how, and I went down with my battered manuscript. John had read my first novel and liked it, and read this book and loved it. That’s how it happened.

The most asked question that I generally receive is, “Where do you get your ideas?” That’s very easily answered. I tell a story about Johann Sebastian Bach when he was an old man. A student asked him, “Papa Bach, where do you get the ideas for all of these melodies?” And the old man said, “Why, when I get up in the morning, it’s all I can do not to trip over them.” And that’s how ideas are; they’re just everywhere. I think the least asked question is one that I got in Japan. This little girl held up her hand and said, “How tall are you?” In Japan, I am very tall.

I get over one hundred letters a week. There are always letters that stand out. There was one from a 12-year-old girl in North Carolina who wrote me many years ago, saying “I’m Jewish and most of my friends are Christian. My Christian friends told me only Christians can be saved. What do you think? Your books have made me trust you.” Well, we corresponded for about twenty years. I suggested that she go back to read some of the great Jewish writers to find out about her own tradition. Another letter asked, “We’re studying the crusades in school. Can there be such a thing as a Holy War? Is war ever right?” I mean, kids don’t hesitate to ask questions. And it’s a great honor to have the kids say, “Your books have made me trust you.”

The questions are not always about the books. They’re sometimes about the deepest issues of life. “Why did my parents put my grandmother in a nursing home?” That’s one that has come up several times. The letters are enlightening, particularly when they are written because the child wants to write them, and not just as a school assignment. Although one of the best batches of letters I ever had was from a high school biology class. The teacher had them read A Wind in the Door, which is about cellular biology, as part of their assignment. I thought, “What an innovative teacher. That was a lot of fun.”

I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write."


For more, visit www.madeleinelengle.com

About Hope Davis

Hope Davis - A Wrinkle in Time

Hope Davis is an actress of theater, film, and television. She was named Best Actress by the New York Film Critics Circle in 2003 for her work in American Splendor, and has been nominated for Tony, Emmy, and Golden Globe awards. Some of her most recent credits include the movie A Special Relationship, the Tony Award winning play God of Carnage, and the television series In Treatment.

Praise

Praise

1998 marks is the 35th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. To celebrate, Bantam Doubleday Dell is publishing two wonderful new editions of L'Engle's Time Quartet, including A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in The Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet; and Many Waters.

In both the new digest and the mass market editions, each title includes a new introduction by the author. Covers of the digest editions are illustrated by Caldecott Honor illustrator Peter SÝs, and the mass market edition covers are illustrated by renowned science fiction and fantasy illustrator Cliff Nielsen.


From the Paperback edition.

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