The world has been diminished with the death of Ursula Le Guin and yet we have her words which will never be lost as long as her books continue to be read.
Those familiar with her work are blessed to have been enriched by her books and with that blessing comes the responsibility of making sure the next generation of readers are no strangers to her writing. Le Guin raised fantasy into high literature. Her stories take readers into what she calls, the “inner lands” of the imagination. She believed such writing could be a moral force.
People often confuse fantasy and fairy tales. One notable difference—in fairy tales, usually a creature of supernatural powers such as a genie, brings about the resolution the story presents. In contrast, in fantasy, it is a human being that brings about the resolution—hence, fantasy literature by nature empowers.
True fantasy tracks a journey. The hero/heroine leaves home and ventures into the world to
resolve an imbalance in the world. To complete the journey, the hero/heroine must return home, profoundly altered by their journey to reestablish balance in the world. Le Guin wrote “True journey is return” and in pure Le Guin fashion, her definition of home was distinctly her own—“Home isn’t where they have to let you in. It’s not a place at all. Home is imaginary. Home, imagined, comes to be.” Le Guin’s books of fantasy differ from other fantasy stories is how her stories revolve around the idea of restoring balance, which is different than a simpler struggle between good and evil.
Le Guin believed the writer’s pleasant duty is to ply the reader’s imagination with the “best and purest nourishment that it can absorb.” Now is the time to revisit her books, meet those you have not yet read and pass on to those who don’t yet know of her work, a very rich and rewarding nourishment.