Book Four of Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle
Years ago, they had escaped together from the sinister Tombs of Atuan -- she, an isolated young priestess; he, a powerful wizard. Now she is a farmer's widow, having chosen for herself the simple pleasures of an ordinary life. And he is a broken old man, mourning the powers lost to him through no choice of his own.
Once, when they were young, they helped each other at a time of darkness and danger and shared an adventure like no other. Now they must join forces again, to help another in need -- the physically and emotionally scarred child whose own destiny has yet to be revealed.
With millions of copies sold worldwide, Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea Cycle has earned a treasured place on the shelves of fantasy lovers everywhere, alongside the works of such beloved authors as J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis.
The publication of Tehanu will give lovers of LeGuin's enchanted realm of Earthsea cause for celebration. In Tehanu , LeGuin spins a bittersweet tale of Tenar and Ged, familiar characters from the classic Earthsea trilogy. Tenar, now a widow facing obscurity and loneliness, rescues a badly burned girl from her abusive parents. The girl, it turns out, will be an important power in the new age dawning on Earthsea. Ged, now broken, is learning how to live with the great loss he suffered at the end of the trilogy. Tenar's struggle to protect and nurture a defenseless child and Ged's slow recovery make painful but thrilling reading. Sharply defined characterizations give rich resonance to Tehanu 's themes of aging, feminism and child abuse as well as its emotional chords of grief and loss. Tehanu is a heartbreaking farewell to a world that is passing, and is full of tantalizing hints of the new world to come. Fans of the Earthsea trilogy will be deeply moved. Ages 12-up.
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1 . A new direction in Earthsea
Posted May 14, 2009 by Greylin , ReadingThe significance of this installment of the overall cycle of the five Earthsea books cannot be overstated. If you thought the events in "The Farthest Shore" were the end of Earthsea's troubles, prepare yourself - what happened there was a mere symptom of the real problem, a fact which we only begin to discover in "Tehanu" and which must be finally resolved in "The Other Wind" (for which reason I really cannot understand why Ursula Le Guin ever called this the "final" book of Earthsea.)
Like many other readers I am sure, I hoped desperately to discover that the awful event at the end of "The Farthest Shore" would be reversed by some wonderful plot twist and when it eventually dawned on me that this was never going to happen I experienced some of the central character's own feelings of grief and frustration. And that is why this is a difficult book. It takes time for loss and seismic change to sink in. Returning to "Tehanu" later, no longer encumbered by my own naive expectations, I not only discovered a thrilling adventure that immediately made me want to take up "The Other Wind" again, but was also able to properly appreciate a delicate and powerful love story.
I have come to adore this book, but prepare to be slightly perplexed by the mysterious Tehanu and withhold judgment until you've read "The Other Wind". I also recommend reading the short story "Dragonfly" in "Tales From Earthsea" as a gapfiller before reading "The Other Wind".
Atheneum Books for Young Readers
November 22, 2004
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