Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
a hotchpotch, but potched by a writer of genius
on 27 June 2014
I have loved Ursula Le Guin since reading "A Wizard of Earthsea"" (because one of our children had ordered it from a school book club and then set it aside.) This doesn't pretend to be a translation. A writer with a lovely feel for language had researched the Dao and read practically every English version of Lao Tzu's book that she could get her hands on. Normally a person would be embarrassed to recommend something that's 'only' a paraphrase of other peoples' work, but this is the most satisfying "Tao Te Ching" I ever opened. It doesn't sacrifice beautiful language for the sake of some spurious "clarity". Other versions that force some personal interpretation on the reader of WHAT IT MEANS are nothing to do with the Dao. At the same time, versions by "purists" who don't care if the words appear in any order that is sensible to a Western reader don't help either. I was always a little bit disappointed in Le Guin's own poetry - (her prose seemed much more naturally lyrical to me). In this case she captures the poetic spirit of a unique philosopher, and in doing so, as far as I am concerned, builds a bridge across huge gaps in time and culture.