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Tehanu: The Last Book of Earthsea [Hardcover]

Ursula K. Le Guin
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (105 customer reviews)

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Book Description

March 28 1990 Earthsea
In the spellbinding finale to the Earthsea books, Goha is called from Oak Farm to the deathbed of the mage Ogion. She takes Therru with her, and the two are led back through the labyrinth of their former lives, ultimately to their true identities and worth.

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Ursula K. LeGuin follows her classic trilogy from Earthsea with a magical tale that won the 1991 Nebula Award for Science Fiction. Unlike the tales in the trilogy, this novel is short and concise, yet it is by no means simplistic. Promoted as a children's book because of the awards garnered in that category by her previous work, Tehanu transcends classification and shows the wizardry of female magic. The story involves a middle-age widow who sets out to visit her dying mentor and eventually cares for his favorite student.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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AFTER FARMER FLINT OF THE MIDDLE Valley died, his widow stayed on at the farmhouse. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Definitely Not for the Kids July 20 2001
By A Customer
While the other reviews focus on the deeper meanings of the Earthsea books-- which are there, certainly-- it seems worth mentioned the disturbingly adult content of Tehanu, especially compared to the first three books, all of which are appropriate for children in both reading level AND in the choice of content. Tehanu, by contrast, features a child who has been raped and horribly tortured by her father and other men, whose pursuit of her is central to the novel, as well as implied gang-rape and repeated use of the word 'bitch'. Ged's overcoming of his lifelong celibacy stands in contrast as what Le Guin must have intended to be a positive male-female relationship-- but overall this book would come as a shock for a parent who had read the other books to a child. My mother read the first three books aloud to me when I was 9, and I loved them, and reread them again and again. This book, with its adult content and somewhat incoherent ending, is not only disappointing but belongs in a different age grouping than its predecessors.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Le Guin reflects and develops - can you? Jan. 21 2002
Split down the middle, the reviews there are of this book veer between "this is a shameless feminist manifesto - a betrayal of fantasy!" and "this is a fitting, moving development of the gripping trilogy". I would like to explain why I favour the second point of view.
Studying a great poet like Dante Alighieri has made me realise that the seeds of genius are always present in the work of a great artist, but they take time to mature. Dante's masterwork, the Divine Comedy, was the product of years of undeveloped thought -on love, philosophy and politics. It was only by the time he wrote and later revised the Divine Comedy, that these thoughts could finally crystallise, around an epic yet utterly humane vision. In many ways Dante had renounced some of his earlier beliefs, but this did not make all his works jarring, or inconsistent, it just showed that he had come to master himself and his beliefs.
The original Earthsea trilogy was an engaging enterprise that nonetheless set itself largely within a tradition of "fantasy". 'The Wizard of Earthsea' was a typical 'bildungsroman' i.e. the story of a young man on a quest. But within this set of conventions - the pride, the error, the journey, the temptress, the old master - lurked something deeper. Le Guin posited ideas of how one really understands the nature of power, by using the allegory of magic. To be honest, whether this was 'Taoist' or not, as has been alleged, is immaterial to me.
It is immaterial because Le Guin then went on to forge her own philosophy, which was and continues to be compelling. Tenar in 'The Tombs of Atuan' faces her own challenge; a different yet parallel fate to Ged's awaits her.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Extremely dissapointing.... May 13 2003
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is not typical LeGuin, and it is barely Earthsea. If you enjoyed the mystery, the deep magic, and rich atmosphere of Earthsea, then avoid this. This story follows the extremely boring, unmagical life that Goha lives. Throw in a burned, raped little girl, and Ged without any magical powers (or much else to offer) and you have 288 pages of pure boredom. You get to follow Goha as she mends clothing, cares for goats and chickens, cleans, and ponders a woman's role in a male dominated world.
There are exciting adventures and mysteries going on all around Goha and Earthsea, yet frustratingly LeGuin chooses not to follow any of these. The finale adds to the insult as LeGuin wraps up this directionless story within the last two pages. It will leave you wondering what the heck you just read, and why in the world LeGuin chose to explore this mundane magicless tale in Earthsea.
Boring, boring, boring.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Bad , Bad , Bad Book ... Oct. 20 1997
By A Customer
Look , the trilogy itself was great , mainly because it was very easy to read , and because the stories were fun , interesting and magical. However , Ursula chose to ruin all the fun I had by writing this last novell. It is NOT a fantasy book for the child in every one of us !!! It's NOT an easy read , it's NOT magical , and it certainly gives you the blues. I got into big depression after reading this book mainly because I was expecting one more brilliant performance of Sparrowhawk , who we all learned to love , I wanted one last performance. But instead I got a novell with a crippeled SparrowHawk that deals with child abuse , rape , aging and getting in terms with your past. This novell ruined the whole trilogy for me. If you enjoyed the trilogy , do yourself a favour and don't ruin it for yourself by reading Tehanu.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars An Unfortunate Turning Jan. 17 2000
By A Customer
This book is an unfortunate ending to a really excellent and imaginative trilogy. It's very disturbing to have a character (Ged) whom you liked and respected robbed of any dignity and reduced to a whining loser who can see no better way than to wallow in self-pity and scrabble around in the dirt and herd the goats. Why did the heroine abandon what she was offered--learning and wisdom that might have helped improve the world--to become a boring housewife? Only the dragons maintain their original charm. This is supposed to be a great feminist novel. Well, please note that the positive social change here is still in the hands of a man--the young king. A very sad progression on the part of the author.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Earthsea is always great
This book continues right from the end of The Furthest Shore. The story is slower then the other three, yet it is also much deeper. The primary themes again are being: who are we? Read more
Published on Nov. 27 2008 by Steven R. McEvoy
3.0 out of 5 stars Different from the other Earthsea books, but still beautiful
I picked up "A Wizard of Earthsea" in the library last week and before I knew it, I was sitting down to read "Tehanu. Read more
Published on July 2 2005 by K Tan
2.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing entry that lacks direction
Award-winning writer Ursula K. Le Guin finished the Earthsea 'trilogy' in 1972 with the tremendous novel "The Farthest Shore," simply one of the best fantasies ever penned. Read more
Published on July 1 2004 by Claude Avary
3.0 out of 5 stars A disappointing entry to a classic series
With 'Tehanu,' Ursula Le Guin makes the puzzling decision to extend the classic Earthsea trilogy into a quadrology (now since extended even further), crafting a book that is quite... Read more
Published on April 28 2004 by Eric San Juan
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
After finishing The Farthest Shore and absolutely loving it, I was greatly excited to read Tehanu...and then disappointed. Read more
Published on Feb. 11 2004
2.0 out of 5 stars Is LeGuin tired of writing?
I can accept the plot inconsistancies with the previous books in the "trilogy." I can accept her vague style of writing. I like her ideas and think they have potential. Read more
Published on Jan. 16 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Women's Magic
For two decades, Ursula Le Guin's landmark EARTHSEA cycle was considered a trilogy. The surprise publication of a fourth novel in 1990, TEHANU, generated expansive critical acclaim... Read more
Published on Jan. 8 2004 by "leda_au"
4.0 out of 5 stars Some shining moments.
I've read the first four books of this series and overall am very impressed with the author's ability to have the reader "live" the charcters life almost without knowing one has... Read more
Published on Dec 28 2003 by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars other side of a circle
It is interesting to see many negative reviews of this book, I loved the other perspective of it and how it deals with the great forgotten of history, the mundane, ordinary and... Read more
Published on July 1 2003 by nathan
4.0 out of 5 stars Different from other Earthsea books, but Great!
Tehanu was different from all the other Earthsea books, but that doesn't necessarily mean I liked it any less. It seemed so real - I could almost see the dragon Kalessin. Read more
Published on Jan. 25 2003 by Kathy K
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