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
"¿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