Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Tehanu by Ursula K. Le Guin
What I love about this story is what I love about all of Ursula Le Guin's stories: her subtlety and winning narrative. It takes a true craftsman to write a novel with a lot of narrative, and not have the narrative swallow the story whole. It's not easy to know exactly what to tell readers and what to show them. As an editor, I usually warn my clients against using too much narrative because it can bog down character development. But Le Guin balances it flawlessly with delineated scenes that bring her characters to life for readers.
But, even without her well-executed narrative style, Tehanu is a compelling study of misogyny and how society treats victims. It explores the day-to-day life of a middle-aged woman raising an abused child; while there are dragons and sorcerers, kings and vagabonds, they are peripheral. The story is not carried by swashbuckling adventure and fantastic locales. Instead, it's a transcendant tale that explores and vindicates a life in the home, and shows the power of women in and of themselves. In this story, as in life, living is not mundane activity; it's magical, spiritual, and powerful.
Copy source: library
Genre: Young adult fantasy
View my list of suggested books by Ursula K. Le Guin