In this book, it seemed to be accomplished by breaking some of the "rules" of writing. There is quite a bit of transportation writing -- people going to and fro to one another's abodes, walking through forests, etc. There are conversations that do not and never do quite make sense. There are facts put out there that are never explained. For instance "Unicornish" is a language, as in Paradise is a Unicornish word for an orchard.
The more I think about it, the obscurity was planned: the people in this story have a spell cast over them, so only certain people can "know" certain things, and they know it for everyone there, not just themselves: only Arry can feel pain, only Oonan can fix things, only Niss can build spells, only Mally knows intentions. So why would we know what the ending should be, if that was not given as our province? Still, it is a beautiful, interesting book. The character names threw me a little, but in this story, I guess that is to be expected. There are also more stories in this vein, which I think I am now going to need to read.
Lessons Learned: make your story do what you want your story to do, and if the rules get in the way, break them!
A red-haired lady (extra points), and friends with authors I love, like Emma Bull,
you can visit Pamela Dean here.