"Very far out in the Western Reach, where dragons are as common as mice."
"Best stay in the East then, our dragons are as small as mice."
How lovely it is to read a book that I can finish in a day. And how lovely it is to be on Book 50 of my "100 Great Fantasy Novels." This has been such an adventure, though I would prefer it were the next fifty books nor take four years to read. My priorities are wrong, somewhere.
Written in 1968, when there was no real YA, many women had to write under male pseudonyms to get published, and all characters were chiseled Nordic types, this story about magic, wizards, dragons, and facing our fate is beloved by so many. There is much to love, but I feel the message of the story is somehow greater than the story itself: not a bad thing, perhaps, and the story truly shines best when that message is coming forth.
Manhood is patience. Mastery is nine times patience.
But you must not change one thing, one pebble, one grain of sand, until you know what good and evil will follow that act.
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.
But it is time you recalled that, though I am a servant, I am not your servant.
Lessons for Writers: I write in this style, somewhat. I must have read books by LeGuin or books influenced by her -- I certainly am influenced by the writers of the 60's and 70's. I can see what is lovely and annoying in her writing, and perhaps in my own. Lovely: evocative images, like wizards forgetting who they are and remaining as dolphins in the sea. Annoying: back-loading of images to make readers have to double-back on the sentence. It's good in small doses, but not all the time.
Visit Ursula Le Guin's website; she writes beautifully on navigating Story.