The Unsettled Theology Of A Children’s Book

Austin Allen praises Madeleine L’Engle's A Wrinkle in Time:

[T]his tale of physicists and witches, Genesis and general relativity conflates so many genres and worldviews in 200 pages that there’s something unassimilated about the finished product. L’Engle claimed that “it was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant,” and while this might sound like standard authorial coyness, I actually believe her.

What she seems to have intended to do is add a new twist (wrinkle?) to C. S. Lewis’s Narnia books. Those, too, combine fantasy with a religious message; The Magician’s Nephew even includes an element of planet-hopping sci-fi. But while the Lewis of Nephew was a veteran children’s author who knew, metaphysically speaking, where he stood, the L’Engle of Wrinkle was a relative newcomer, and there’s something less slick and complacent about her universe. Blend pagan myth with Christian themes and you’re repeating an old formula; stir in large quantities of secular literature and modern science, and you get a more intriguing, more volatile chemistry.