ONE of the greatest thrills of my professional life was the chance to interview the novelist ursula le guin last summer at her home in portland. HERE is my piece, which runs sunday in the LAT.
le guin is one of the few writers from my childhood -- 5th or 6th grade i think, for the "earthsea" books -- who gives me the same pleasure, if in a different key, as an adult.
in person, i found her -- at nearly 80 -- to be intellectually and physically tough, like a frontierswoman. which fits a dedicated westerner who has fought to redraw the boundaries between serious and genre fiction.
her latest novel, "lavinia," which takes off from virgil's "aeniad" and just came out in paperback, is fantastic. its puts some in mind of robert graves' delicious "i, claudius."
my only regret is that the idea of a "long" LATimes piece has changed drastically since i started the story, and the result is too short to really capture the full sweep of a half-century long career, and a writer who has been acclaimed, controversial, and in and out of fashion over those years. either way, her accomplishment is profound.
Photo credit: ursulakleguin.com