Ursula Le Guin has an interesting piece up at the Book View Cafe blog about Kazuo Ishiguro’s new novel The Buried Giant. She has issues with specific elements of the book but the part that caught my attention was the reason she felt compelled to write the piece in the first place.
In an interview, Mr. Ishiguro wondered whether his readers would label the book as fantasy. And, as Ms Le Guin says, “It appears that the author takes the word for an insult.” Regardless of Ishiguro’s intentions, this provides Le Guin with a jumping off point for discussion. Her defense of fantasy is concise and compelling.
Fantasy is probably the oldest literary device for talking about reality.
As she lays out the case for fantasy as more than “childish whims,” I am again reminded that the value of imagination lies not in its escape from reality, but in its distillation of significant questions of life and death, purpose and perils, loss and joy. In short, the human experience writ across the universe.
That’s big. I’d better get back to work.