A Wizard of Earthsea
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A Wizard of Earthsea
Ursula K. Le Guin
Fantasy & Science Fiction
Aug 28, 2018
Since its publication in 1968, A Wizard of Earthsea has cast a spell on readers and exerted enormous influence on writers as diverse as Neil Gaiman, Junot Díaz, and Margaret Atwood (the latter has called Le Guin’s novel one of the “wellsprings” of fantasy literature). The richness of the tale, and that of the five Earthsea sequels that followed it, relies in large part on the deep mythic backstory Le Guin layers into her fascinating maritime geography; this resonant network is augmented by an organic system of magic that eschews glibness for the arduousness of any true craft. If A Wizard of Earthsea is often characterized as a young adult novel, it may be because it engages, with probity and a sense of reverence, themes often underplayed in books for grown-ups: ethics, empathy, and understanding of the vital ecological balance in which both nature and culture are implicated and entwined. Why these thematic concerns are less prominent in books for adults is puzzling, since they provide the coordinates for the moral compass we require to actually be grown up. Which is to say that adults will profit from this novel, and from the cycle it spawned, as much as their children.
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LeGuin
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Jul 12
I just finished this book and wrote about it in my weekly newsletter: https://tinyletter.com/kylejsmithers I’m glad I read it, great hero’s journey story and some surprising and tense moments.
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