Le Guin, with Spoilers

Gross Family argross at bigpond.net.au
Mon Nov 25 06:44:30 EST 2002

Hallie replied to Widdy:

> Yes, I tend to agree - it's just that The Other Wind is being
> marketed (and reviewed) as  Children's/YA, over here at least.  As I
> said, it's nothing like as disturbing as Tehanu, that's not what
> struck me about it.  But of course, the fact that I'm reading it as
> an older adult and finding something in the theme of loss that seems
> to me aimed at older readers (really older, not older teens) doesn't
> mean that a teenager wouldn't find something completely different.
> It'll be interesting to see what Becca makes of it.  She said she
> needed to reread AWoE and TFS before reading TOW, and has never read
> Tehanu, so it may be a while.

I've just finished _The Other Wind_ and I agree with you. Like the first
three in the series, I think it could be appreciated by a YA or adult
audience, though I agree that something about it does seem aimed for older
readers. Or perhaps it's just that, as le Guin grows older herself, her
ideas and writings might have something particular to offer older adults?
Anyway, I loved it. Some slight spoilers ahead...


It occurred to me that in a way, in changing the concept of the "dry land"
of death in this book, le Guin was abondoning something intrinsic to the
first three books. But the more I think about it, the more I like it. I
never felt that this metaphor for death worked that well, because the dry
land where lovers don't recognise each other and mothers don't recognise
their children always really felt more like hell than death. That image of
death had been so bleak that it was more a denial of life than a true
metaphor for death. The "other wind", on the other hand, while evoking a
genuine sense of loss and ending, is a more life-affirming metaphor for
death. I'm not sure if I'm explaining what I mean properly....The book isn't
flawless (maybe things come together a bit too perfcectly at the end,
despite the loss?) but I loved it anyway. I was crying by the last page.


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