August 28th, 2006

Relax!  Grab a Book!

39 of 50

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  1. Ballard, J.G. — Crash
  2. Joyce, James — The Dubliners
  3. Le Guin, Ursula — Tales from Earthsea
  4. Le Guin, Ursula — The Other Wind

There will be no more Earthsea books. How could there be? The Other Wind brings the series to a satisfying conclusion. Of course, Le Guin left herself an out, on the very last page. Everything wraps up very tidily, but, just in case, she leaves us a little kernel for thought. There shouldn't be another sequel, but maybe…

The Other Wind may not be as "good" (whatever that means) as the initial trilogy or Tales from Earthsea, but it is immensely satisfying. Le Guin's skill is evident on every page as she weaves the various threads—some introduced in this book, some from others as far back as the first books—together into one grand tapestry of Earthsea. Some of the events of this book cast doubt on the correctness of some of Ged's actions in previous books, but then Le Guin reminds us that Ged chose what needed choosing at that time, even if later different choices may have been appropriate.

I love the way in which Le Guin made Ged, though powerless, an essential part of this story, and how she brings together the different peoples of Earthsea and recasts our understandings of them, whether from the Kargad lands, Peln, Gont, Roke, or beyond the west. I thought this book would subvert the male-centric paradigm of Earthsea, but it really turns much more than that upside down, challenging the Archipelagan conceptions of life and death, good and evil, high arts and old powers. It tears Earthsea apart in order to make it whole.