Novel Thoughts: Earthsea Cycle shows adults how to imagine again | Community

Tammy Marshall

Last month, I addressed “Mansfield Park”. If you’ve seen the 2007 movie called “The Jane Austen Book Club,” you’ll recall that the only male member of the book club is a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin, and he encourages another member to read a few of them. -ones. works. Reluctantly, she does, and she loves them. It was pretty much the same way that I discovered my love for Le Guin.

I started reading the Earthsea Cycle from a large tome containing all six books in the series. It is a beautifully illustrated book called “The Books of Earthsea”, published by Saga Press in 2018.

Le Guin wrote the first book in 1968, the same year I was born, but she didn’t write the sixth book until 2001, so I don’t feel too guilty that it took me more than 50 years to discover this work when it took her more than 30 years to complete the cycle of stories. I confess I hadn’t read her works until now because she’s been widely classified as a fantasy writer, and while I loved The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I don’t read a lot of fantastic literature.

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However, Le Guin made an excellent point in her introduction to this book – an introduction which she thankfully managed to write before her death on January 22, 2018. This was a misunderstanding of maturity and imagination. I am okay. After all, I gained far more from re-reading “The Lord of the Rings” as an adult than when I first read it as a young teenager.

While Le Guin was specifically asked to write a fantasy for young readers in 1968, and the first story, “A Wizard of Earthsea”, has a young wizard as the protagonist, the entire collection of stories is aimed at adult readers. due to the themes, events, and even characters, which get older with each book. The dragons in these stories are unlike any other dragon I have ever read. These are not the dragons of children’s stories.

In stories, names are important. In fact, many characters have two or three. They have names that people call, but they also have what is called their “real names”. Knowing someone’s real name gives others power over that person, so that name is rarely spoken. I found this aspect of the stories both confusing because a character is called by two or three names (for example, the first wizard you meet is called Duny, Ged, and Sparrowhawk) and extremely interesting.

Naming someone is a very important thing. Much of our identities are wrapped up in our names, and people can know, or assume, things about us just by our surnames, and that can give them power over us or give us power over them.

The full story collection is 992 pages, so I haven’t quite finished reading all six stories, but I’m getting close. Along with this reading, I also read Le Guin’s fabulous book of writing tips called “Steering the Craft”, which she rewrote for a 2015 edition subtitled “A 21st-Century Guide to Sailing the Sea of ​​Story”. Since Sparrowhawk, the main wizard in his Earthsea stories, spends a lot of time at sea, I found the subtitle quite fitting, and came to admire Le Guin as a writer.

Too bad it took me so long. If you’re reluctant to read a Le Guin book, don’t be.

Contact Marshall at tamreader@gmail.com.

Next month’s reading selection is “The Overstory” by Richard Powers.

Irene B. Bowles