Saturday, July 09, 2011

Novel: A Swiftly Tilting Planet

Madeleine L'engle (1978)

Nice story. Nice idea. Sort of along the lines of the "we're all connected" idea that has grown in popularity since this work; one of the follow-ups to the Newberry Medal winning A Wrinkle In Time was written.

L'Engle, who passed away in 2007, was probably a gentle grandmotherly soul. Her narrative suggests such. Unfortunately most of her main characters come across as gentle and grandmotherly, be they man, woman or child. I struggle with any book where the characters do not seem to have independent voices.

Though touted a keener of modern science, she here makes the most pedestrian blunder in missing the most primary relationship between time and space, in effect, placing planet Earth at the very centre of the universe.

The greatest challenge though is this partial cast of characters: Gwen, Gwynedd, Gwydyr, Gedder, Gaudior, Matthew Maddox, Madoc, Madog, Mad Dog, Bran, Branwen, Branzillo, Zillo, Zillie, Zyll, Zillah.

It's probably a way better story than I could have appreciated given there was almost nil hope for keeping the characters straight.

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