If anyone other than Ursula Le Guin wrote this book I wouldn’t have finished it. It’s slow-paced, thick with imagery and impressions. Perseverance paid off, because it’s precisely all that which made me think about moving on to something else turned out to be the most beautiful thing about A Wizard of Earthsea.
It’s unlike anything else I have read. There really isn’t any real plot to talk about, there’s scarcely any catharsis at the end. It’s just somehow there and it’s beautiful. It’s all about feelings and impressions, about fear and loneliness, about not belonging. There is only one comparison that springs to mind when I think about this book. Reading it felt like trying to run through water. It was difficult, but strangely rewarding.
What I love about Le Guin is the way she does not create new worlds. She just tells you a story which takes place in a world you didn’t know existed. She’s unassuming in her writing, careful with words; almost shy in her respect of the story she’s telling.
By far, one of the most interesting reading experiences I’ve had, and I’m looking forward to reading The Tombs of Atuan.
Interestingly, whenever I mention Le Guin to someone, if they’ve heard of her, they’ve heard of her as the author of “that fantasy novel…what its name?”. I’ve started with The Left Hand of Darkness, moved on to The Dispossessed and onwards to the Lathe of Heaven. I’ve decided to give this fantasy thing a go, and I was not disappointed. The future seems more bright knowing that there’s a lot more of her work out there, waiting to be read.
In the end, bear in mind, I’m not much of a fantasy reader, so this might not be the most representative review.