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The Beginning Place

3.52 of 5 stars 3.52  ·  rating details  ·  1,091 ratings  ·  108 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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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,814)
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Spryng
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
...more
Marsha
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
...more
Wendy Darling
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
Carrie
Nov 01, 2010 Carrie rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
...more
Tracy
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
...more
S
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,
...more
Diane
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Wealhtheow
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
Kevin
May 25, 2008 Kevin rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  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
Chris
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
...more
Aik
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
...more
Terran
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.
Michael
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.
Tracy
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!
Scott
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.
Aelvana
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
Megan E. McCarthy
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
Summer
Boring book. Too much unexplained. Uninteresting characters. Uninspiring story.
Lois
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).
Lawry
I like books where not everything is explained.
Ben Adam
Ursula Le Guin takes a story that seems so familiar and inserts incredible originality. This is a book for all those people who love books like "The Chronicles of Narnia" but have grown tired of the worn out attempts at Christian allegory in which the heroes of the story look more like the old kings of England than the disciples of the Gospels that they are named after. I highly recommend this book to youth and adult alike who love great writing, strong women, fantasy, and the endless possibilit ...more
Kellyann
A Jungian fairy-tale.
Micah
The beginning of the book is dry. I enjoyed the magical realism in the middle of the book. Somethings felt out of place and rushed but others felt labored and overplayed. The plot functions and the prose is good. Her transitions at times were confusing and things felt unresolved. The book is more about the events that forced two people to grow while glossing over the events themselves.

It is young adult fiction so I won't beat it up to much. It does have its moments and overall I did like it. Thi
...more
Kristen
This book was recommended to me by a stranger on the internet, because of its similarity to a book I read when I was younger that I was trying to remember the name of. Well, this wasn't it, but it sounded interesting so I gave it a try. This book aged really well in my opinion. I kept reminding myself that it was written before I was even born. You don't really notice at all, despite it not taking place entirely in a different world. This was the first Le Guin book I've read and I'm definitely e ...more
Robin
I really wanted to love this book. I love most of what Ursula LeGuin writes. But this one was frustrating for me, as many other reviewers have written. It felt like I was reading someone's dream state remembrances. The story just..... stops. They walk through a gate and the book ends. No questions are ever answered. What was the "dragon"? How come it is blind and white? Why was it there? Why were the people of the land suffocated by fear? Had people been sacrificed to the dragon in the past? Did ...more
Simon
I don't know what to rate this one. After reading it several years ago, I remember disliking it imensely. To such an extent that I got rid of it afterwards (something I've not been compelled to do with any of her other novels).

And yet, since then, this story has strayed back into my thoughts. I, until recently, forgot it's name and when I think back on it, regard it with fonder memories than I had at the time. I feel the need to re-aquire it and give it another go.

Ok, I realise I haven't said mu
...more
Bradley
Exploration, young love, finding a place to begin anew. Le Guin, like usual, writes poetry prose - being so beautiful it sounds like a large poem. Her descriptions of nature are excellent here. I enjoyed the fictional culture that was created. She could've written much more about it though. Overall, a nice, well-written story. Excellent but not in my favorites.
Derek
The intimacy of the story is refreshing when considering the bookshelves groaning under the weight of recently-published fat fantasy volumes, each the member of some indeterminably-numbered series. This is the story of a village, of the threat facing it, and of the personal problems of the protagonists.

It is not an easy book to get into, and I'm not convinced its rewards are worth the effort. It is paced slowly, with much introspection, and the heavy hand of metaphor is over most of it. Irene's
...more
Rodrigo Bahamondes
Incredible book!!! Sometimes looks like a fable, sometimes like a fairy tale, but there's a lot more than that in this book. It's a beautiful tale of encounters and no-encounters, deceptions and truths, everything that may be found in human relationships. Really wonderful!!!
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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
More about Ursula K. Le Guin...
A Wizard of Earthsea (Earthsea Cycle, #1) The Tombs of Atuan (Earthsea Cycle, #2) The Farthest Shore (Earthsea Cycle, #3) The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle, #5)

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