Creator / Madeleine L'Engle

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A book, too, can be a star, a living fire to lighten the darkness, leading out into the expanding universe.

Madeleine L'Engle (1918 2007) was an American writer of Young Adult Literature best-known for A Wrinkle in Time and its sequels.

Most of her novels belong to one of two sequences, referred to as "Kairos" and "Chronos", from the two ancient Greek words for time. "Chronos" refers to chronological or sequential time, while "Kairos" signifies a time in between, a moment of indeterminate time in which something special happens. (Although both sequences contain speculative elements, the Chronos sequence is primarily realistic, while the Kairos sequence, which includes A Wrinkle in Time, is clearly sf/fantasy.)

    Kairos 

    Chronos 
  • Austin family novels
    1. Meet the Austins (1960)
    2. The Moon by Night (1963)
    3. The Young Unicorns (1968)
    4. A Ring of Endless Light (1980)
    5. The Anti-Muffins (1980)
    6. The Twenty-four Days Before Christmas (1984)
    7. Troubling a Star (1994)
    8. A Full House: An Austin Family Christmas (1999)

Additional tropes:

  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: And no boy is a clearer example than Zachary Grey, who appears in The Moon by Night, A Ring of Endless Light, A House Like a Lotus, and An Acceptable Time.
  • Buy Them Off: In The Young Unicorns, they learn at the end that the doctor who had done so much to help Emily after she had been blinded — had been the person to blind her. (Albeit accidentally.)
  • Character Overlap: The Kairos and Chronos sequences are connected by several supporting characters — including Canon Tallias and Zachary Gray — who appear in both, as well as in some of L'Engle's other works.
  • Deadpan Snarker: She was once asked in an interview if the 2004 version of Wrinkle lived up to her expectations.
    Yes. I expected it to be bad, and it was.
  • Dreaming the Truth: In The Other Side of the Sun, Stella (an Englishwoman) goes to live with her husband's father in the Deep South shortly after The American Civil War. After a dream involving fireflies and her husband metamorphizing into a (black) man she had met there, she wakes to the realization that her husband and this man are half-brothers.
  • Dude Magnet: In her young adult novels, both Vicky and Polly qualify.
  • Glad-to-Be-Alive Sex: Subverted in A Ring of Endless Light. Vicky and Leo discuss how being close to death has made them more interested in expressing life. Leo uses this as a come-on (including mentioning that his parents had sex as part of their mourning process), but Vicky isn't interested.
    Vicky: Why have I been so hungry?
    Leo: Because eating is part of life. So is loving.
    Vicky: Let's concentrate on eating, then.
  • Happy Ending Override: Troubling a Star brings back the fictional country of Vespugia from A Swiftly Tilting Planet and reveals that the events of the latter book only delayed the country's dictatorial government from coming to power by about 10 or 15 years, rather than averting it entirely.
  • Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe: In The Love Letters, Charlotte fled to Portugal because when she told her husband she was pregnant, he had asked her who the father was. (It was him.)
  • Orgasmatron: The Young Unicorns has a young-adult-friendly version of the trope: a Micro-Ray that can directly stimulate the pleasure center of the brain. The experience is described as feeling like flying.
  • Taking the Veil: In A Severed Wasp, a minor character has this as her backstory — after her divorce.

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