Ursula Le Guin’s slim novel tells the story of the early life of Ged: a wizard whose hubris leads him to over-extend his powers, and who must undertake an agonizing quest to address the consequences:
There was no need to hunt the thing down, to track it, nor would its flight avail it. When they had come to the time and place for their last meeting, they would meet.
But until that time, and elsewhere than that place, there would never be any rest or peace for Ged, day or night, on the earth or sea. He knew now, and the knowledge was hard, that his task had never been to undo what he had done, but to finish what he had begun.
It’s a classic parable and well crafted. It’s actually the first book of Le Guin’s I have read, so I feel like I partly corrected an oversight in my general exposure to speculative fiction.
The book is successful at evoking the sense of a fully-formed world, despite not having to give over much time or space to elaborate exposition. That, combined with the consistency and convincingness of the tone, makes the book seem immersive and meaningful.