7. Emotional impact

1

Something which I don't think has emerged yet in our chat is the emotional impact of Ursula LeGuin's writing. For me, one of the great features of her best work is the way that a setting which has been predominantly descriptive or contextual suddenly grabs you as reader in a much more visceral way. Here, the line "Take care, Tenar" (in its narrative context) invariably does that for me, and has done since first reading the book about four decades ago :blush:

Lines like that - and I can easily think of other examples from her writing, especially in The Dispossessed - transmute the story into gold. The real focus of the tale switches from being about "other people in other places" to a personal and sometimes overwhelming response.

Of course, she is far from the only writer that can do this with a stray line here and there, but it highlights her skill as author.

Anyone else feel this?

Comments

  • 1

    Yes, I just love her writing. There was a scene early on in which one of the young priestesses was eating something that really stood out for me on this read.

  • 2

    LeGuin is a badass. Her language always gets under my skin. In this case, I remember (and keep in mind I grew up in the Bible Belt in a VERY religious old school Bible-thumping protestant home) that this book both enthralled me and creeped me the hell out! I remember having lots of emotional reactions to this. Ged was a kind of literary hero to me after reading WoE. And here he is trapped and fading, reliant on the help of Tenar to escape. Conversely Tenar is one of the "enemy" – from a certain perspective, and certainly in the beginning when she is more outwardly clinging to her heritage. And yet, she's obviously a sympathetic figure because we get her inner thoughts and because she is young/an innocent trapped in the religious tradition of the Kargad Empire. I remember feeling scared, frustrated, almost (but never quite) bored, etc.

  • 3

    In terms of writing style, whether in fantasy or in science fiction, Le Guin's one of the very best there is- in my top three writers, who I wouldn't like to rank in order. Her use of language is efficient and beautiful, and that combination is as good as unique- certainly nobody else does it as well.

    In terms of nuanced characters, coupled with the writing style, and the fact that her writing is as much as anything else how characters feel about things, there's an emotional wallop, and without anything being forced.

  • 2

    Tolkien, LeGuin, and... Tanith Lee?

  • 1

    @Apocryphal said:
    Tolkien, LeGuin, and... Tanith Lee?

    Yes! Top marks in the "Paul Mitchener's taste in speculative fiction writing styles" quiz. I bet you wish you were using that portion of your brain for something more useful...

    Incidentally, there are other writers whose styles I like just as much as my triumvirate outside of fantasy and SF. For instance, P.G. Wodehouse was a genius.

  • 2

    @dr_mitch said:
    For instance, P.G. Wodehouse was a genius.

    Truth! Any way we can justify reading him in this club? LOL

  • 1
    edited March 21

    @Ray_Otus said:

    @dr_mitch said:
    For instance, P.G. Wodehouse was a genius.

    Truth! Any way we can justify reading him in this club? LOL

    Yes! If nothing else, it connects to games like A Taste for Murder.

  • 3
    Not to mention *What Ho World!*

    Which despite the name isn't an Apocalypse World hack.
Sign In or Register to comment.