What I Am Reading: Taran Wanderer

I am hoping to make an update every Wedneday about what I am currently reading. This week, I am rereading one of my favorite books of all time – Taran Wanderer. This is the fourth book in the Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander and was published first in 1967.

I loved this series when I was a kid. My grandmother gave me the five books when I was about seven or eight and I devoured them over and over. Every six months to a year I would read them all again. I’ve estimated that I’ve read the series around forty times in my life.

When I was younger, this was my least favorite title in the series, but as an adult, it’s easily my favorite. It’s by far the quietest and least focused of the books. There is a quest, but it’s not a single, focused quest the way the other books are. Taran has little direction and even questions the quest itself numerous times through the book. Most of the story revolves around his explorations of his own identity. He does this through many different ways, from brokering a peace between two warlords to learning artisan crafts from great masters. I think that it was too slow for me as a kid and I used to often skip it when rereading the series. But the quiet introspection and the fascinating explorations of identity are what make it so meaningful to me as an adult. Taran is grappling with questions everyone has, after all.

I’m about three quarters of the way through the book at this point and up to one of my favorite characters in the whole series – Llonio. I may write a post about him specifically sometime, so I’ll leave it at that for now!

I love this book so much. It makes me happy and makes me think and gives me a great sense of connection and peace. It’s such an interesting piece of my own history, as well. Every time I reread it I learn something new about the books as well as about myself, and to me, that’s a quality belonging to the very best stories!

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