A Wizard of Earthsea

last updated 2019-11-16

by Ursula K. Le Guin

In the past, I haven't been one to reread books for no reason other than I have too many books I haven't read on my shelf, ready to go. My memory of the plot was like viewing it through the fog Ged summons when he first realizes his inate power. And to really relive my childhood, I didn't actually reread it per se; I borrowed the library's audiobook, recreating the fantasy-novel-on-a-roadtrip feeling I haven't felt since I was a kid. The recording, delivered via the library's app, even told us to flip the tape to side B, but only after rewinding it fully. No detail spared for immersive effect!

Story vehicle aside, Le Guin's writing is incredible. That she can weave such profound imagery and themes into what is ultimately a 200-page YA novel is incredible. Some of my favorites:

On death:

For a word to be spoken, there must be silence. Before, and after.

Only in silence the word, only in dark the light, only in dying life: bright the hawk's flight on the empty sky.

On learning:

From that time forth he believed that the wise man is one who never sets himself apart from other living things, whether they have speech or not, and in later years he strove long to learn what can be learned, in silence, from the eyes of animals, the flight of birds, the great slow gestures of trees.

Compiled 2024-04-21