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The Other Wind: An Earthsea Novel [Paperback]

Ursula K. Le Guin
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
RRP: 7.99
Price: 6.42 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

20 Mar 2003 Earthsea

The wizard Alder comes from Roke to the island of Gont in search of the Archmage, Lord Sparrowhawk, once known as Ged. The man who was once the most powerful wizard in the Islands now lives with his wife Tenar and their adopted daughter Tehanu. Alder needs help: his beloved wife died and in his dreams she calls him to the land of the dead - and now the dead are haunting him, begging for release. He can no longer sleep, and the Wizards of Earthsea are worried.

But there is more at stake than the unquiet rest of one minor wizard: for the dragons of Earthsea have arisen, to reclaim the lands that were once theirs. Only Tehanu, herself daughter of a dragon, can talk to them; it may be that Alder's dreams hold the key to the salvation of Earthsea and all the peoples who live there.

Frequently Bought Together

The Other Wind: An Earthsea Novel + Tales From Earthsea: Short Stories + The Earthsea Quartet: "A Wizard Of Earthsea"; "The Tombs of Atuan"; "The Farthest Shore"; "Tehanu" (Puffin Books)
Price For All Three: 20.40

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Childrens; New Ed edition (20 Mar 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1842552112
  • ISBN-13: 978-1842552117
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 13,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ursula Le Guin has won many awards, including a National Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Newbery Honor and the World Fantasy Award For Life Achievement.

Product Description

Amazon Review

In The Other Wind, Le Guin revisits some of the material for which she is most famous--the magical world of Earthsea, whose scattered islands are the home of an inventively conceived magic of checks and balances. Once before, in the fourth book Tehanu, with its hideously burned child who is part dragon, Le Guin reconsidered what she had already written, forcing her readers to abandon complacent enjoyment of the heroic in favour of something rather more straight-edge and critical.

Now, with hitherto friendly dragons burning humans out of their homes and the dead whispering ominously in a sorcerer's dreams, she questions her own premises even further. Ged, the burned-out magus of the first three books, and his wife Tenar are here, but peripheral; this is the tale of the tinker mage Alder and his dreams of his dead wife and how he finds himself caught up in the affairs of the great and good.

This is a calmer, more satisfying book than Tehanu; it is as if Le Guin is less angry with herself and her audience for the popularity of the first three books, more prepared to accept one sort of good and force us to move on from it to a more mature and ascetic vision. As always, she writes in a crisp, lyrical prose that approaches the sublime; this is a book about enlightenment that makes us believe it possible. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.


"¿a thought-provoking continuation of the chronicle of Earthsea¿a luminous, absorbing meditation upon life, death and man's relentless quest for immortality." (Booktrusted News)

"This absorbing philosophical debate can stand alone for Le Guin's new readers; for long-standing fans of the Earthsea saga, old friends are here." (TES, 31 May 02)

"¿a masterpiece of chilling narration" (Guardian, 27 Jul 02)

"The characters and fantasy world are all vividly drawn and the fascinating issues raised by the story are important and profound." (Northern Echo, 12 Nov 02)

"Le Guin's storytelling is remarkable¿Without giving away the ending, it is both melancholy and affirming¿moving and rewarding." (The School Librarian, Winter 02)

"If you think you don't like fantasy, think again; Leguin's books simply give "reality" another shape." (Erica Wagner The Times, 7 Dec 02)

"The Other Wind, a new Earthsea novel, felt like a homecoming to the magnificent otherworld that I escaped to at 14; wise, graceful, classic myth-making for all ages" (Julie Bertagna The Scotsman, 7 Dec 02)

"A powerful and thought-provoking story of magic, love and loss." (Perth Shopper, 25 Apr 03)

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
40 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Takes your mind on a journey to big questions 21 July 2003
I have recently embarked on the sumptuous project of re-reading childhood classics, and the Eartsea books especially have provided that gratifying sense of rediscovering a delight, while seeing new adult-related depths to it. To read them as wizard-adventures is to miss out on their almost Taoist meditations on death, freedom,fear - moving and noble themes.
All the Earthsea books I've rediscovered concern the painful relationship between the living and the Dry Land - our human fear and grief at the thought of dying and giving up everything here - and the destructive results of trying to avoid that fate. The Other Wind contains a redemption of sorts, and a redeemer. It is very interesting to draw parallels between this and Christian myths of redemption and death, because while Le Guin creates a salvation story of sorts, she rejects the dream of an afterlife of the type we are used to from the world religions.
Le Guin's narrative is such that these kinds of thoughts arise almost incidentally while reading the interesting, exciting, well-characterised tale (dragons!). The questions dealt with are large, the choices unforgiving, but theses are always tied to the personal dilemma of a character. This ensures that ideas never float around in the abstract and it becomes very easy to take the questions on personally.
The Earthsea world is as always deftly and evocatively described, and the language is so smooth and powerful that you can be transported even on a ten-minute bus journey. After I finished the book, its mood and ideas remained with me: a kind of sadness at the inevitable choices we face: freedom or possession; "to fly or to dwell", to give up what you love.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wow! 26 Aug 2003
By Schneehase VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
And wow! And even more wow! If you loved the Earthsea Quartet you'll be blown away by this sequel. It was more than worth waiting for. I read it twice through and can't wait to read it again, once it's been round the rest of the family. I always felt that the issues raised at the end of the Quartet were too big and powerful to just be left where they were and Ursula Le Guin obviously realised that too. This story takes the reader even deeper into Earthsea's past, present and future, explaining, expanding and finally resolving the stories of Tehanu, Tenar, Lebannen and Ged in the most spectacular and breath-taking way. What a story-teller she is! By the way, it would be helpful, but not essential to read the short stories, 'Tales from Earthsea' first. These are a sort of prequel to the sequel and extremely interesting in their own right.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A weak end but a good rebeginning? 30 Nov 2002
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
When Ursuala LeGuin published 'Tehanu', it was clear that she was angry - angry at the world she had created for being a world of male wizards where women and the powers of earth had no true place in magic.
You can see this anger in the earlier stories of 'Tales from Earthsea', but the final story, 'Dragonfly', which is the prelude to this book, is a rediscovery of what Earthsea was about.
The single most important motif in the original Earthsea stories was the wall of stones which divides the living from the dead, and the effects of unwise traffic across that wall. Two subsidiary motifs were dragons and the old powers of the earth. LeGuin recaptures and develops the importance of these in 'The Other Wind' in a way which she failed to do in 'Tehanu'. This story is a story about what would happen if the wall of stones itself came under attack - if the dead, from their side, began to pull it down. The theme is powerful, and readily captures the imagination.
What this book doesn't recapture is the way the original Earthsea stories were put together - and the reason why they were so successful as children's stories to read and re-read. A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan and The Farthest Shore are stories about growing up, about how children become adults. The first two are significant achievements in the genre. To achieve this, they are written through one set of eyes.
'The Other Wind' loses both the simplicity of a single narratorial point of view, and, crucially, contains no children. Here we meet our favourite characters again - Ged, Tenar, Lebannin, Tehanu and Orm Irian, but we do not spend enough time to ground the tale in their consciousness.
This is a good book, but a minor one. It is a story about Earthsea philosophy and rationale.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Closure or Disappointment? 6 May 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is quite hard to call.
If you loved the original Earthsea trilogy mainly for its characters, stories and fantasy - the consuming world of Earthsea and its geography and magic - then I think you'll be disappointed with this book.

If, on the other hand, you liked the grander themes and ideas of those books, then this one does tie up and move on a bunch of those themes and ideas.

I'm tempted to say that in pursuing the mainly adult aspects of these stories, at the expense of the thrills of Ged's exploits, Ursula Le Guin like George Lucas, chose the wrong path - who did you prefer in the original Star Wars trilogy...Luke Skywalker or Han Solo?

However, that might be unfair. So I guess its better to say that Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea stories grew up and moved on to grander things, whereas I didn't.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
a great read
Published 12 days ago by liz J
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
I was so pleased to discover another book in the series - my favourite books from childhood. It ddn't disappoint.
Published 3 months ago by MoiraB
5.0 out of 5 stars Food for thought
It took me a while to get into this book- I began by feeling that this was an unnecessary sequel to a brilliant series. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Donald Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this!
This is a lovely book. It is one of Le Guin's best. It may be a "children's book", but there is a lot in it for everyone.

There is power. Read more
Published 19 months ago by Eustace Phenackertiban
3.0 out of 5 stars A Pleasant Read
In itself, this book is sweet and meanders along at a fair pace. Its a pleasure to meet Ged, the magician form the previous books whose power has burnt out and he is merely a... Read more
Published 24 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, Unmissable, Sophisticated
Ursula Le Guin is a writer who has been with me all my life, so to speak. I was drawn back into her wonderful books as the result of her intermittent reviews in The Guardian's book... Read more
Published on 29 Oct 2011 by Booksthatmatter
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful unexpected ending to the series
After returning to Earthsea after a long absence, I discovered both the short tales collection 'Tales from Earthsea' and the new finale 'The Other Wind' at the same time. Read more
Published on 29 Sep 2011 by Patrick Penname
5.0 out of 5 stars The other wind
A lovely book following a thread, learning to do only what it is necessary to be done (ie in following the thread of things falling into place). Read more
Published on 7 Feb 2011 by .
4.0 out of 5 stars As poetic and allusive as ever
I've enjoyed Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea novels for a very long time. Initially a trilogy, published in 1968-72, a fourth volume appeared in 1990, and the present book was published... Read more
Published on 4 Feb 2010 by Jeremy Walton
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful conclusion
How to describe a quintet (a sextet with the new collection of short stories) that's been thirty years in the writing? Quite superb is the answer. Read more
Published on 26 Nov 2006 by Mr. R. Lamont Abrams
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