40 years of magic

Ursula K. Le Guin‘s first book in the EarthSea trilogy, Wizrad of EarthSea, was published over 40 years ago. I received the 3 books as presents for childhood birthdays, and not only do I remember them fondly, they even have a place on my bookshelf today, alongside the 7 Narnia books by C. S. Lewis and The Hobbit by Tolkien.

Apparently the Hebrew translation rights were purchased way back in the 80’s of the previous century (I could not resist :-)) – but a Hebrew translation has only recently appeared. I was delighted to receive copies and very much hoped that my son would enjoy them in Hebrew as much as I enjoyed them in English at his age.
Unfortunately this was not meant to be, two dozen pages or so of the book took their toll, and my second born threw in the towel and did not show any interest in pursuing this venture (hint).
This morning I sat down to read the book, given that a long time has gone by since I read the original, I did not remember the plot at all, and could thus enjoy what was for all intents and purposes a brand new book. I enjoyed it very much. It reminded me of the Christopher Paolini trilogy – Aragon, Brisinger & Eldest – that I had recently read, although Christopher had not even been born when Ursula wrote her books.
The plot was fascinating and magical, and one could, if they were so inclined, delve into its hidden depths to study and analyze it according to Yung, Buddhism or others, though it is not a must.

The book is targeted at children and teenagers (as explicitly stated on its cover), and the font size and jacket layout were also done accordingly, however despite being for youngsters, the language in which it is written is most certainly not suitable for children, and I doubt that it is even relevant for anyone under 15-16, if at all. The language is not archaic, it is simply way to poetic and flowery, and totally not up-to-date.

That he would not endure. He did not say much, but he resolved that he would prove himself to her. He told her to come again to the meadow tomorrow, if she liked, and so took leave of her, and came back to the house while his master was still out.

I took my English copy down off the shelf, its pages had started to turn yellow (actually they are already brown ;-)), and read a little, the language is rather poetic when compared to the Hobbit, Narnia or The Wind in the Willows etc.) so the translation certainly does the source justice, and is of high quality indeed, however nowadays you should write that the translation quality is great, at least if you want those whom were attracted by the book’s jacket to continue reading the book to its conclusion end.

IMHO, so much potential, but a great disappointment (that is assuming the purpose is to sell as many books as possible).

This post is also available in: Hebrew

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