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The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle) Hardcover – September 11, 2012
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"New and longtime Earthsea fans will be drawn to these impressive new editions." (The Horn Book)
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin (1929-2018) has published twenty-one novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry, and four of translation, and has received the Hugo, Nebula, Endeavor, Locus, Tiptree, Sturgeon, PEN-Malamud, and National Book Award and the Pushcart and Janet Heidinger Kafka prizes, among others. In recent years she has received lifetime achievement awards from World Fantasy Awards, Los Angeles Times, Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association, and Willamette Writers, as well as the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America Grand Master Award and the Library of Congress Living Legends award. Le Guin was the recipient of the Association for Library Service to Children’s May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award and the Margaret Edwards Award. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, Words Are My Matter, an essay collection, and Finding My Elegy, New and Selected Poems. Her website is UrsulaKLeGuin.com.
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This book is powerful because it was originally published as a young adult novel but it has very grown-up themes and concepts. As a younger reader it might be easier to relate to passionate Arren, but the wisdom represented by Ged (who is now in his middle ages), is not lost in Le Guin's writing. And, obviously, those readers who have followed Ged through The Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan have a deeper understanding of the decisions he makes in The Farthest Shore.
In any case -- don't let "young adult" put you off from reading this book. If anything the short length makes this a wonderful weekend read, and really sparked that imagination in me that I thought was lost with maturity.
The wizard Ged creates, through his vanity and insecurity, a shadow in the world which only he can master and put to rest. And this mistake of childhood follows him through his life in small ways ... the vanity, the temper. In an act of cruel temper
he forces a fellow wizard to walk with him to the Dry Land, to death, and back again, hoping to stop him from compelling the spirits of the dead to walk among us at his beckon call . But it backfires and the end of all things nearly occurs because, again, of his own temper, it seems, that brings about more evil than evil people. So many morals are taught, from this one, that our bad intentions ring for many years after, to ... how to talk to dragons, how to weave a spell, to welcome the visiting spirit, to listen to the language of water and know the names of all things... Its a spiritual journey, simply written
but deeply trod. I love it and read it often. And I am always renewed. I wish there were more stories about this hero,
or others in this world she invented back in the 60's. She describes the Earthsea world as revealing itself to her, rather than her making it up... and I almost believe it. For me, as I try also to undo the past and weave into the spells of today a forgiveness not only of myself, but of all things that walk this earth, I know there is a magic in all we do , one we take for
granted. For it is in the land of the living that we belong, to live outloud, to meet dragons in their own domain, chase dieing children into the land of death to save them, to walk with the shadow of our own hell, and, learning its name, be at peace with ourselves. Here for so short a moment, then forever to walk upon the dry land where mother and child sit, unknowing, near one another,
and those who died for love pass each other on the street. All this is in this little book. Everything from the nature of the evil ..
the weaving of spells, the thrill of arriving at the school of wizardry, these things that had not been written about
until Ms. Le Guin. The masters of Roke are as alive to me as my own teachers, and why not? Anything is possible if you believe and can see the ways it might manifest.
Good reading for ages 10 and up, I'd say.