Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin

I shall have to find a new favorite living writer. The long-time occupant of that post has vacated it. Ursula K. Le Guin is dead at 88.

Le Guin's works, and occasionally her person, have been part of my life for most of it now. I must have seen original hardcover editions of A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan on bookshelves somewhere, because, although I did not read the books at that time, I thought that any writer who could draw maps like those had seen within my soul.

I read the books, and their sequel The Farthest Shore, when they came out in paperback a few years later, and found that the stories matched the maps in piercing meaningfulness, as well as being fantasy with a moral center to it that thereby reminded me of Tolkien far more than his more obvious imitators did.

Here, and in other works to come, I found that Le Guin would take me to places so valuable and insightful that I would follow her anywhere she wished to go.

I want to say everything about it. Nothing at this point seems adequate. A defense or explication of her work seems inappropriate right now, an account of personal interactions trivial. Before her eloquence I bow in silence.

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