“Soon after A Wizard of Earthsea came out in England it received a review in a science-fiction periodical which took the book to task for being “consolatory” and “reassuring”. Well, fair enough, I thought, if the consolation is false, if the reassurance is unwarranted; but are consolation and reassurance inherently false, unwarranted – foolish, soft, silly, childish – sentimental? Are we writers only to threaten, terrify, and depress our readers with our ruthless honesty: have we not as good a right to offer them whatever comfort we’ve come by honestly?
I wrote the reviewer and told him what I thought, and that I thought I had Tolkien to back me up. He wrote back nicely enough saying that of course he hadn’t been thinking of the book as being written for children. Apparently it is permissible to reassure or console children, but not adults.
Such an attitude seems to me to be based on a strange notion that the Common Reader is so happy, so foolishly confident, so stupidly trustful, that the Common Writer’s whole duty is to convince him that life is hard and full of grief and that there is no consolation. Most adults I know already know that life is hard and full of grief; and they look for both confirmation of this knowledge, and consolation for it, in art.”
— Ursula K. Le Guin (via)