Tigana, let my memory of you be like a blade in my soul. ~ GGK

I’ve been on a Guy Gavriel Kay marathon lately, catching up on his books that I haven’t read yet. Last night, after I finished reading The Sarantine Mosaic duology, I headed over to Bright Weavings to check out what the brilliant people there were talking about. My eyes strayed over to the Tigana forum, and click! My utter and absolute love for Tigana, which I reread for the nth time recently, eclipsed anything I had planned to say about Sarantine. It is by far my favorite book by GGK, and if other fans would disagree, I’d say we are lucky to have more than one masterpiece by this wonderful author to choose from.

Tigana. It has made a mark upon my soul, though it is one of wonder and not loss like Alessan’s. I realized just now how very fortunate I’ve been — the first fantasy books that I ever read were The Lord of the Rings, followed by Tigana. After such brilliant first encounters, how can I not love the genre? Since then, I’ve gone on to explore its different forms, from the Christian allegories of C.S. Lewis and the “psychomyths” of Ursula K. Le Guin to the anthropomorphic adventures of Richard Adams and the dark urban fiction of Neil Gaiman. But I always come back, again and again, to where I began.

Peter S. Beagle once said of The Lord of the Rings that it “bears the mind’s handling”. The same can be said of Tigana. My pleasure in it grows after every rereading, and it is with a strange wistfulness that I turn the last page. Every time, there is always something new to discover: an exhilarating turn of phrase, a perfectly rendered moment where one can pause for a while and drink in the mood, a subtle hint about a character’s motivations that previously went unnoticed. Kay respects his readers and writes with the belief that they are more intelligent and thoughtful than pop culture suggests, and this assumption results in a rich, multi-textured work that not only delights but challenges as well. It not only bears, but invites and rewards the mind’s handling.

Some  GGK fans have gotten together online to discuss actors they would like to cast in screen adaptations of Tigana and the others.  It is with both excitement and apprehension that I wait to see if this will happen. On one hand, Robert Lieberman’s disastrous television adaptation of Le Guin’s Earthsea series is a cautionary tale, but on the other hand, Peter Jackson’s masterful handling of the LOTR has shown us that it can be done. It will be a gift to the world if they do it right, so that another generation of readers can discover the joy and the heartbreak of Tigana.

This isn’t a real review. This is just my undisguised attempt to get people to read books that I would like to talk about with them. So go. Read it. I’ll wait. 😉

The real review, by the way, is here. 🙂


6 thoughts on “Tigana, let my memory of you be like a blade in my soul. ~ GGK

  1. I never heard of Guy Gavriel Kay or Tigana–now I have someone new and wonderful to read, I think. Would it be suitable for middle school readers, do you think? By the way, what a lovely writing style you have!

    • One of his newer books, Ysabel, might be more relatable for middle schoolers, since the protagonist is a teenager, and it has a YA feel. That’s the first time he’s done that, and it might be a good introduction to his works. I myself discovered Tigana in high school, and I found it a rewarding reading experience.

      Oh, and thank you so very much. 🙂

  2. Thanks, an interesting post! I wasn’t aware that anyone was actually planning to produce a TV series for Tigana. Is it actually in the works, or is the casting discussion hypothetical?

    The history of science fiction/fantasy movie/TV adaptions leaves a lot to be desired: Riverworld, the Discworld series that the BBC did, the Neverwhere series that the BBC did, the list goes on. I’m hard-pressed to think of many book-to-screen adaptations that worked well, especially for television. I suspect it’s a budget/directorial talent issue. I’m curious to see what HBO does with George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones, though. They definitely have the budget to buy whatever talent they want.

    It would be great to see something similar done with GGK’s works.

    • It’s still hypothetical, I think, just fans daydreaming about who they’d like to see in the roles. If there are concrete plans, I haven’t heard of them yet. (On GGK’s facebook page, though, there’s a discussion about a future Al-Rassan movie in development this year. Nothing to see yet on the IMDB page: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0443572/.)

      You’re right, it’s so rare to find a good adaptation, to strike that balance of translating a story from one medium to another while staying true to the author’s core vision. The thing about GGK’s works (especially Tigana, which focuses on memory and identity) is that so much happens internally – the mental and emotional journeys are just as important as the external events. I’d be interested to see how the characters’ inner lives can be portrayed on screen, if they decide to do it.

  3. Pingback: Five books that punch you in the heart | Evenstarlight

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