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The Beginning Place

3.54  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,285 Ratings  ·  130 Reviews
Fleeing from the monotony of his life, Hugh Rogers finds his way to "the beginning place"--a gateway to Tembreabrezi, an idyllic, unchanging world of eternal twilight. Irena Pannis was thirteen when she first found the beginning place. Now, seven years later, she has grown to know and love the gentle inhabitants of Tembreabrezi, or Mountaintown, and she sees Hugh as a tres ...more
ebook, 240 pages
Published March 1st 2005 by Tor Teen (first published 1980)
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Wendy Darling
Feb 08, 2012 Wendy Darling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
An unusual and beautiful book. It reminded me of several favorite books of mine, where people follow a path and go into a different world to discover sometimes about themselves. At times it was confusing but no more confusing than necessary and all part of the process of learning. I woud say that if you are a fan of Storm Constantine, Tanith Lee, and of course Le Guin, then you should read this book unhurriedly and with enjoyment. (If you are looking for a quick fantasy romp this book is not for ...more
Jun 09, 2011 Kai rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben Babcock
Damn you, Ursula K. Le Guin, for managing to move me even when I think your book sucks.

Many of the poor reviews on Goodreads here can be summed up like so: "Le Guin is a great writer, but this isn't her best." Both of these statements are true. However, I'm not willing to leave it at that. I refuse to accept that a writer of such skill as Le Guin can have an "off" novel, that she somehow misses her mark here. Other writers might have books like that, but not Le Guin. So while it is true that I t
This is a hard book to summarize and it may prove maddening to people who prefer their stories to be more straightforward. There isn’t much to it; it’s a slim book that can be read in a matter of hours. But it manages to cram its different threads into one compact package.

While the protagonists are decidedly adolescent in their behavior and outlook, the nature of their individual dilemmas brings this book very much into the adult arena. Hugh tiptoes around his obsessed, needy, vicious and contra
Oct 25, 2015 Teresa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 01, 2010 Carrie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Older YA & Adults
Hugh Rogers is an over weight sales clerk who lives with his controlling mother. Nothing is going for him in his life and he goes throughout his days with not much to contribute. One day he stubbles upon a mysterious path while taking a walk and decides to take it. Time seems to slow in this place and Hugh spends more time here to escape his life.

When Irena Pannis was in her early teens she discovered a secret world and likes to escape in it from time to time to avoid her abusive father. One da
Sep 04, 2012 Tracy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book starts out beautifully and sort of collapses before it gets anywhere interesting. I'm always willing to eat up a story about introverted youths discovering secret worlds and going on quests that help them come of age, and it's true that this one evokes that feeling of aimless yearning that made up about 80% of my teenage brain. But as far as the story goes, this is the most bare-bones version of this plot that I can imagine.

The protagonists come across a nice little village that needs
Mar 15, 2013 S rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As a disclaimer, let me tell you that I’m not much of a science-fiction lover. Ursula K. Le Guin is the goddess of science-fiction, and being this the first book that I read from her, I was hoping that maybe she would convert me to the genre. Well, not yet.
First let’s address what I did like about the book:
- The writing. Usually, when I read something within the fantasy or science-fiction genre, the focus seems to be on the story and the writing usually is not as polished. But Le Guin does have,
Jul 15, 2009 Diane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 17, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Hugh is trapped in suburbia and a dead-end job by his mother's fear. Desperate for escape, he goes running one night and finds a gateway into an idyllically fresh world. The clean water and air, the lack of humans, makes him return to it again and again. But he's not the only one to have found the gate--years ago, Irena discovered the way through while escaping from her gruesome step-father. She feels betrayed that someone else has found her secret spot, but the villagers who live in this perpet ...more
May 25, 2008 Kevin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fan fiction writers
Shelves: fiction
This book holds back, and not in a good way. Instead of being an intriguing mystery that unravels as secrets are revealed and characters explored, it feels more like a shuffling of feet as the author delays the inevitable. And when the inevitable finally comes, it comes too easily and without passion. The characters' emotional lives are not revealed through their actions and relationships, so it all feels a bit flat. It's a case of 'telling' rather than 'showing', as they say in creative writing ...more
Jul 31, 2015 Jackson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Although this was not one of my favorite LeGuin, the premise of a land hidden just beyond our perception was an exciting read, moved right along, and helped me to think about other people in a way that I had not considered before when shopping at the market.
Jul 05, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
i remember liking this book a lot more the first time i read it. i must have been in a different place in my life then. le guin's tone and style in this book is different than that of the left hand of darkness, the dispossessed, etc. i like it. then again, i like most everything she does.

this book is unique in that i can't think of a distinct audience for which it was written. the fantastic elements speak to a younger audience - so maybe teens? though i don't think teens would understand the des
Jan 29, 2010 Aik rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Uuhhh, I guess it was okay. There was a lot about it that rubbed me the wrong way. The ending in particular was absolutely crap. The characters I didn't connect with very much. I'm sure they're realistic, but they're realistic portrayals of bland people.

There was potential in this. I was interested in the culture and everything about the other world. Unfortunately, a plot appeared and killed the enjoyment I might have had in exploring the world. That the themes were ultimately quite against the
Alice Chimera
Jul 19, 2015 Alice Chimera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
C’è una soglia che in pochi possono sorpassare. Oltre di essa un mondo avvolto nel crepuscolo, eternamente silenzioso dove il tempo scorre più lento e dove le persone in cerca di fuga possono trovare un luogo loro.
È il primo romanzo di questa regina indiscussa del fantastico, ed è stato un incontro molto particolare. Partiamo dal fatto che un poco mi sentivo intimorita dallo stile e mi aspettavo una storia intensa e che mi avrebbe rapito in poche pagine, invece mi sono ritrovata come a spingere
Nov 15, 2008 Terran rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a hard book for me to rate. I feel very ambivalent. I found it to be an extremely painful book to read. The problem with LeGuin is that she's a brilliant writer and when she decides that she wants you to feel miserable, she does it very, very well. So it's an extremely well written effort that you end up hating to read. [sigh] So I don't know whether to say that I loved it, for being so effective, or hated it, for dragging me through the mud.
Aug 16, 2009 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is another book I read as a late teen that has stayed with me. Quite simply it is a coming of age fantasy story that encourages the reader to connect with the characters on a personal level and peer into the realms of imagination and fantasy which befits the setting as both a physical, magical place and yet equally something more ephemeral. I can lose myself completely in Le Guin’s world, only to return to this one feeling that I am a guest.
William Crosby
Starts contemporary and real world. Hugh lives with and is dominated by his mother. Irene has to deal with domestic abuse and sexual assault.

Independently, they find a creek in the woods which leads to a magical land that is eternally twilight. They revel in their special place away from their unhappy lives. Then, she finds him there and has a feeling of defilement.

They finally work together to help the people of this land because the place is constricting. Fear rules.

Okay, so far. But the story
Feb 21, 2010 Tracy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2010
I never ever would have thought I'd say this about an Ursula K. Le Guin book, but...I was bored! A tepid. slow-paced story line, a positively snooze-worthy romance and a dull alternate reality...I suppose even a master like Le Guin has an off day on occasion. Don't bother with this one; go grab The Left Hand of Darkness or an Earthsea book!
Oct 15, 2007 Scott rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Y'know... this was a lovely story, I'm sure, but I just couldn't stick with it. I read the thing a month ago, but honestly, I can't tell you the first thing about it.

I remember being bored at times. I remember being confused about what was going on. And I remember it ending and just being like "Ok. Whatever."

So.... whatever.
Tradotto a tratti malamente (non male, ma senza cuore e talvolta senza grazia), accidenti a Gargoyle che si spreca le sue occasioni. E poi, forse, scritto anche malamente: per tutto il tempo ho avuto la sensazione che cento pagine in più, per entrare nei respingenti personaggi e capire meglio (senza sentirmelo dire da ursula) che il luogo fatato ha in sé una certa inquietudine e non stiamo realmente parlando di gnomi buoni o simili, non sarebbero state di troppo.
Era molto molto interessante anc
Wow. She's definitely high on the literary end of the fantasy scale, but she has a great way of portraying mundanity so you can feel the pain of a life that doesn't mean anything and can't change, and she's even better at giving a normal stream and forest an aura of joy and holiness. There's only one complaint I have, and it's fairly large. Why did the main characters sleep together? I didn't even know they LIKED each other when they started... you know. And it wasn't a ton of detail, but still ...more
Comentário bilingue: Português - Inglês
Bilingual review: Portuguese - English

Livro excelente onde o fantástico e o real se cruzam. O que mais gostei foi a naturalidade realística com que os dois protagonistas entram num mundo fantástico, mas o genial está na forma como os heróis/protagonistas são pessoas verdadeiramente comuns e como o mundo fantástico onde se refugiam se revela, passo a passo, mistério a mistério, um mundo tão parco de refúgios e tão cheio de traição e falsidade como o mundo re
S.M.M. Lindström
Hugh och Irene är båda personer som lever under hot; Hughs mamma manipulerar honom ständigt, medan Irene konstant oroar sig för en närstående som har en mycket otrevlig äkta hälft. Båda hittar de vägen in i en annan värld med ständig skymning. Båda känner sig mer hemma där än de någonsin gjort i sina hem. Men något är mycket, mycket fel i Skymningslandet...

Jag tolkar den här berättelsen som en träffande metafor för vilken kamp det är att ta sig ur svåra förhållanden, samt hur olika folk reagerar
Megan E. McCarthy
Feb 18, 2014 Megan E. McCarthy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A coworker lent this to me, and it was... odd. The writing and characterization was beautiful, but the actual quest/plot and romance and gender roles all left me with a bland taste in the mouth. It felt like it had a lot more potential than it lived up to. That said, I was really glad I read it, because I hadn't read any LeGuin in years, and it inspired me to dig out a copy of The Left Hand of Darkness and reread that, which, let me tell you, blew my mind so hard I can't believe I've gone almost ...more
Mar 01, 2016 Paul rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A strange crepuscular novel Le Guin co-opts the fantasy genre for an exploration of two young people's finding an escape from terrifying and stultifying home lives to confrontation of their fears and ultimately growth and liberation. Unlike the brilliantly described psychology of A Wizard of Earthsea when Ged is forced into meeting his Shadow head on this is a dour and a challenge to read because so little apparently happens and the plot is circuitous and repetitive (maybe deliberately so but ov ...more
Peter Haslehurst
As always, Ursula LeGuin is beyond praise. I can't quite understand why this book is so neglected compared to her other work. I found it haunting.
Feb 29, 2016 melydia rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Not Le Guin's best. A man and woman independently find the entrance to another world and meet each other in the process. This other world is having some nebulous problems that prevent the townsfolk from traveling outside the city limits, and for some reason the man and woman have to do something about it, but whether or not they do is not entirely clear. The romance feels forced and the ending was very unsatisfying. I wanted to know more about the other world, but it seems to have been invented ...more
Oct 29, 2011 Summer rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Boring book. Too much unexplained. Uninteresting characters. Uninspiring story.
Feb 16, 2014 Lois rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A unique and unexpected sort of fantasy, like a cross between A Wizard of Earthsea and something by Charles de Lint. Apart from the awkwardness of the book's only sex scene, it is well written in a simple, idiosyncratic style. The moral of the story seems to be that you can't escape reality for long, but you might find what you need in the attempt; of course, it's hard to be sure with so much left unresolved (not too annoyingly so, fortunately).
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As of 2013, Ursula K. Le Guin has published twenty-two novels, eleven volumes of short stories, four collections of essays, twelve books for children, six volumes of poetry and four of translation, and has received many awards: Hugo, Nebula, National Book Award, PEN-Malamud, etc. Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia, an essay collection, Cheek by Jowl, and The Wild Girls. Forthcoming ...more
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“His alarm clock ticked by the head of the bed. He gazed at its whitish face, the hands both drawing downward. There were no clocks, there. There were no hours. It was not the river of time flowing that moved the clock's hands forward; their mechanism moved them. Seeing them move men said, Time is passing, passing, but they were fooled by the clocks they made. It is we who pass through time, Hugh thought.” 2 likes
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