Searoad: Chronicles of Klatsand, by Ursula K. Le Guin, is at first sight a simple collection of stories about a small town in Oregon. Don’t be fooled, though. There are no neat, happy endings here (or even unhappy ones). Most of the stories simply end, with no resolution.
In “The Ship Ahoy”, the story ends without the reader finding out if a suicide was committed, or even actually contemplated.
In “Bill Weisler”, we are left wondering what the eponymous character will do about his relationship with Conrad, the hippie entrepreneur who has made them both rich selling Bill’s pottery.
The most resolution in the entire book comes at the end, in “Hernes”, when we meet five generations of women. The first is one of the original settlers of Klatsand, and then we meet her daughter and her descendents. This story brings out many of the characters from the other stories, or their ancestors, and we see another side of the town. But still, no real resolution is given, and the story ends the book with a mythical tale of war and destruction.
I was going to write something profound about Ms. Le Guin’s life and work, but it came out sounding like utter claptrap, particularly after a quick glance at her website, http://www.ursulakleguin.com/. So I shall leave you with an unfinished review, rather like the stories of Klatsand.