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Books 1-10.
Books 11-20.

21. The Tombs of Atuan by Ursula K. Le Guin (Re-read). As I noted in talking about A Wizard of Earthsea, I failed to get much out of the Earthsea books when I read them as a young adult. In the case of this, the second book, reading it now was pretty much like reading it the first time--I have some memory of the maps and illustrations, but pretty much none of the story. What struck me as I was finishing it up was how much it reads like a story about battling and surviving depression; I have some small discomfort with Ged's role as Tenar's deliverer from her dark and joyless existence, but I was also very moved by her transformation and her move into the light. I'm beginning to think that I was a particularly shallow and clueless adolescent (and if I told you what I was reading and re-reading during that period you'd probably agree), since I know how big these books were and are for so many people at that age.


( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:10 pm (UTC)
This is one of my most favorite books ever. I love the contemplation of naming and the importance of names, for one thing, and its claustrophobic, smothering feel up until the end always strikes me.
Feb. 22nd, 2011 08:44 pm (UTC)
It's amazing how the reader feels just as trapped and weighted down by the Labyrinth as Tenar is, and how much of a physical relief the escape is.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 23rd, 2011 02:31 am (UTC)
It's so different from A Wizard that it's difficult for me to compare the two; the first book is certainly brighter and more accessible, but I think Ged's journey is less fraught and less convincing than Tenar's. I'm really enjoying revisiting these, though, and I've never read beyond the original trilogy, so I'm looking forward to that as well.
Feb. 23rd, 2011 07:19 am (UTC)
It's interesting to me how often fantasy writers need to find metaphors for depression. Certainly Rowling's Dementors that suck all the joy out of life read as depression. I think much of Sam and Frodo's journey in LoTR is really a large metaphor about depression.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


David J. Schwartz
Mumble Herder

Recent and Forthcoming



US Edition

UK Edition


"The Sun Inside," part of the Electrum Novella Series from Rabit Transit Press

Short Stories:

"Escape to Bird Island" at The King's English, Winter 2008-9 Issue

"Bear In Contradicting Landscape" in Polyphony 7, Coming Soon

"MonstroCities" in Tumbarumba: A Frolic of Intrusions

"Mike's Place" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet #22

"Proof of Zero" in Spicy Slipstream Stories, Out Now!!

"The Somnambulist" in Paper Cities: An Anthology of Urban Fantasy, Out Now!!

"Oma Dortchen and the Pillar of Story" in Farrago's Wainscot, Summer 2007

"The Ichthyomancer Writes His Friend with an Account of the Yeti's Birthday Party" in Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet Number 13, Fall 2003 (Honorable Mention, The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror: Seventeenth Annual Collecion); Reprinted in The Best of Lady Churchill's Rosebud Wristlet


""Stardust" at Strange Horizons


"On Making Noise: Confessions of a Quiet Kid" in Brothers and Beasts: An Anthology of Men on Fairy Tales edited by Kate Bernheimer



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