A Swiftly Tilting Planet
This fantasy novel follows the adventures of Meg Murray and her brother Charles Wallace as Charles Wallace travels through time, entering the bodies and minds of historical figures in an attempt to change history and prevent nuclear war. It sounds far-fetched and rather silly, but L’Engle for the most part makes it work. A rather unusual structure, by which Meg experiences Charles Wallace’s adventures through a “kythe”, or mental connection, also seems odd but tends to work, although sometimes it left me wondering if the book wouldn’t have flowed a lot better otherwise. Because of the back-and-forth structure, I finished the book slightly confused as to exactly what had been the turning point in the changes to history, but I suppose the complexity was intentional. The writing style is solid but not especially impressive; the descriptions are adequate but not much more.
I have heard that L’Engle writes from a Christian viewpoint, but that is not especially apparent in this book. True, it takes place in a moral universe, but the morality of the story seems mostly confined to “nuclear war is bad”. Since this doesn’t seem an especially original insight to me, I was not particularly impressed. The bad guys are also bad, and there are some undefined evil forces floating around in the expanses of space between eras, but that isn’t exactly original either. There is certainly nothing objectionable in the book, however.