A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle. Review by S.K. Slevinski

Book Cover

In Print
As regular readers may recall from my previous reviews of L'Engle's Time Trilogy, these books were among my childhood favorites. I have found these audio productions to be a great way to revisit them, and the audiobook of Swiftly Tilting Planet is no exception.

This book may be the least often read of the Time Trilogy, as it is the third book, but also the longest of the three. As a child I remember thinking that it was the longest look I'd ever read. In actuality it is, of course, much shorter than most fantasy novels. And at only six discs, the audiobook makes for a great car trip read or casual week's listening.

Book Cover

On Audio
For those who have not read it, Swiftly Tilting Planet is also the most mature of the three books. Meg is grown up and married to Calvin, the twins are in grad school and Charles Wallace is increasingly prodigious at 15. Charles and Meg serve as co-narrators in a sophisticated but easy to apprehend scheme of narrative filtering. Through their eyes and those of many characters throughout time, we watch as Charles endeavors to save the world from nuclear conflict at the hands of a remote third world dictator, by traveling through time with the aid of Gaudior, a member of an alien race of unicorn-like creatures with a talent for moving in time, but not through space. As Charles jumps the centuries without straying more than a few miles from the star-watching rock, L'Engle weaves a complex narrative of family saga and might-have-beens. Adults may see some of the plot twists coming but I remember being amazed at how everything came together in the end when I read it as a child.

This book is a wonderful transition piece for kids who may be ready for a more sophisticated story before moving on to full-fledged adult literature.


S.K. Slevinski is senior editor for ARWZ Literary Magazine and a long time reader of alternative reality fiction. She is currently a graduate student, specializing in folklore.