31 Days of Post Day 25: Struggling with A Wizard of Earthsea

Until recently, I’ve never read A Wizard of Earthsea. Make that attempted to read. I read the first chapter and just could not go on beyond that. For me, the narrative tone just killed any possible enjoyment of the text for me. And this is supposed to be better than Harry Potter?

Now, I will admit that I haven’t been a good SF geek when it comes to reading the classics. Especially children’s classics.

To be honest, I just don’t really like children’s fantasy. Or probably children’s literature in general.

My reading pretty much jumps from the Little House books (Big Woods and Prairie) and a few other children’s classics to Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie during my junior high years.

Now, I’m correcting some of what I’ve missed. But I’m finding it hard slogging. The writing that typifies children’s literature I find to be often unreadable. Or at best uncomfortable.

There are rare exceptions. Among them are the Alice books, The Phantom Tollbooth, and The Wishing Spell.

But, and I hate to ask this question, is it perhaps something about Le Guin’s writing that I find personally off putting?

I haven’t read much of her work. But what I have read, I can’t say that I’m very impressed. Obviously, I could not get into A Wizard of Earthsea. And I had a similar reaction to The Left Hand of Darkness. Of her novels that I’ve actually completed, I did enjoy The Word for World is Forest and was indifferent to The Dispossessed. 

Again, does this make me a bad SF geek that I’m not a fan of Le Guin? Or does it just indicate that my tastes lie elsewhere? Should it even matter?

I don’t know. I don’t think whose writing I like or dislike should matter. But this is fandom we’re talking about.

Maybe I should just lay the book down and read something else. Maybe if I come back to it, I may change my opinion (as I’ve been known to do). Or perhaps the ship has already sailed for A Wizard of Earthsea.

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Posted on October 25, 2012, in Books and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Of the Earthsea books, The Tombs of Atuan is the easiest read if you’re looking for something that lines up with more conventional means of narration, and there’s no need to read the previous book to understand what’s going on. I know others who’ve had trouble with Wizard because large spaces of time are compressed into a sentence or two.

    • It isn’t so much the temporal compressing that bugs me. What I found pretty much unreadable was how the narrator spoke/ read. I’ve always had an issue with children’s books that speak down to the audience. But A Wizard of Earthsea is the most glaring example I’ve yet to read.

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