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The Eye of the Heron

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  1,047 ratings  ·  73 reviews
In Victoria on a former prison colony, two exiled groups--the farmers of Shantih and the City dwellers--live in apparent harmony. All is not as it seems, however. While the peace-loving farmers labor endlessly to provide food for the City, the City Bosses rule the Shantih with an iron fist. When a group of farmers decide to from a new settlement further away, the Bosses re ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published September 15th 2003 by Starscape (first published January 1st 1978)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,793)
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Lisa Butterworth
This was just a tiny little novel, but just packed with stuff I love. Individual characters, compelling and interesting, but also embodying different political dogmas, the plot itself so packed with inherent symbolism that it shouldn't have been so light and natural. All coming together in a clean fast believable push through another world with the goal of freedom. It was beautiful.
Nikki
Ursula Le Guin's The Eye of the Heron looks like an easy, short book. My copy is quite slim, the writing is a reasonable size, and the prose is as polished as hers always is, and it's easy to read. There are some absolutely amazing quotes, that I loved to read just for the perspective she always brings to the discussion. These are the ones that struck me the most (in parts of them, description has been taken out to make them more universal).

a. "You know, if we sit in the back room, with babies o
...more
Ryan Rebel
Of the three Ursula K. Le Guin books I read in quick succession, this was my least favorite. I didn't particularly love any of them, although I did enjoy A Wizard of Earthsea. It was much more, shall we say, exciting than The Eye of the Heron.

It's not that it's an awful book. I don't quite know what went wrong, but whatever it was, it severely hampered my enjoyment. I would say that I was bored with this book, although it had its moments. I couldn't even tell you what bored me--the concept was i
...more
Alina
Another insightful novella, packed with politics, human rights, gender and class discrimination, philosophy and very sensorial descriptions.
Quite a good and quick read.
Emily
Le Guin has developed yet another “peaceful” society on another planet. This one, though, originated on Earth many years into our future. The Victoria Settlement was at first a penal colony, but about 50 years later The People of the Peace were sent. Obviously, there’s a lot of conflict between the two groups. The latest confrontation has arisen because the Peace People would like to start another settlement. The criminal descendants don’t want to let them go because they do a lot of the menial ...more
Robert
Oct 13, 2013 Robert added it
Shelves: sf
The people of the City arrived on the planet Victoria by one-way spaceship, exiled from Earth, convicted criminals. Many years later the People of the Peace arrive in the last such spaceship, also exiled, but by choice. They form a town and call it Shantih, but the people of the City call it Shanty - deftly contrasting the views of the City folk and the townfolk. Over time the People of the Peace have become the peasants of a feudal society in microcosm but now confrontation is coming. The Peopl ...more
Coeli
I can't believe that I'm only reading Ursula K. LeGuin now. This grave mistake shall be duly rectified.
Onefinemess
This is one of the weaker - if not the the weakest - LeGuin book that I've yet read.

Not to see that it was bad, just that I found myself skimming more than usual and just a little bored. About halfway through I knew that the way the book ended would seal it as either terrible or passable, as it looked like it was heading in one of two ways, both of which I found to be a little too simplistic. Thankfully, she didn't take either of those paths and so I wasn't quite disappointed...just a little bor
...more
Amanda
Learning from history, Earth sends its criminals to another planet, christened Victoria. Much like Australia (and Georgia, the state), they settle down on this world. Later, another group of people, known as People of the Peace, are shipped in. They begin an uneasy life together, in Shantih Town & the City, where the People of the Peace practice nonviolence and provide the food to keep the City & its caste system intact.

The town sent an expedition out to seek new land, as there has been
...more
David Haws
There is a difference between a novel that lends itself to ideology (In Dubious Battle) and a novel conceived in ideology (The Grapes of Wrath). While Le Guin always writes beautifully, I think the ideology here is a little too thinly veiled.

One of the problems is that social cooperation only happens in an environment of relative scarcity. In a condition of relative abundance, there is no incentive to cooperate (someone steals you mango, you just pick another mango). In a condition of actual sca
...more
Merve Gul
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
William Leight
All novels are political in some sense: as Orwell said, "all art is propaganda . . . ." The second half of that statement is that "not all propaganda is art", and that's the danger for any novelist wishing to write an explicitly political novel. All too often, what you end up with is a rather obvious allegory, in which the good guys are entirely good and inevitably correct and the bad guys completely evil and always wrong. This trick is difficult enough to pull off in an epic fantasy setting whe ...more
Rebeccameder
It felt like the whole book was just setting up the premise for a story that never happened.
Eric
I thought this book was pretty fun. I read it with a class of 6th and 7th graders, who did not like it at all, but I didn't think it was that bad. I do agree with my students, though, that there is something frustrating about Le Guin's prose. For them, I think it is the many lines seemingly containing deeper meaning you can't really put your finger on and the general subtlety of her narration (which is akin here to the narration of the other novel of hers I've read, The Left Hand of Darkness) th ...more
Brian
So, I admit, I didn't actually finish this. I lost it while I was about 15 pages away from finishing it. Unless something super amazing or stupid happened, though, my rating would have stayed the same.

Someone who wrote a review below me was right, you can tell this was written in the 70's. It is not one of my favorite Ursula books. It has parts that are good, the concept is really amazing, but the actual story is not well executed. The People of Peace and the City People are so extremely annoyin
...more
Valerie
This is one of the books I chose to have LeGuin autograph. This is one of my favorite books, at least partly because it's one of the few science fiction books that has a plausible alien biosphere.

I must note, however, an oddity that is more noticeable when one reads LeGuin in bulk. If I complain that other authors seem to focus almost exclusively on the solitary, outcast, etc, LeGuin seems to have the opposite problem. The people in this book are almost all terrified of 'the wilderness'. Since t
...more
Dogan Kokdemir
“Bana öyle geliyor ki erkeklerin zayıf ve tehlikeli oldukları nokta, kibirleri. Kadının bir merkezi vardır, bir merkezdir kadın. Ama erkekler öyle değil, onlar erişmektir, uzanmaktır. O yüzden uzanırlar ve bir şeyler koparırlar, bunları etraflarına istif ederler ve ‘ben buyum, ben şuyum, bu benim, şu da benim, benim ben olduğumu size kanıtlayayım’ derler. Ve bunu kanıtlayayım derken de bir çuval inciri berbat ederler.”

Yukarıdaki cümleler Vera’ya ait; Victoria isimli gezegene sürgün edilen Şantiy
...more
Erin
A few years ago I traveled home for a visit with my parents and I found an old, hardcover copy of The Eye of the Heron by Ursula K. Le Guin sitting among my dad's collection of books on the cedar chest. The old paper dust jacket was faded and worn at the edges, the colors bleached (as though the book had spent more than a few days sitting in the sun). Some might have been put off by its shabby (and dated) appearance, but I was enchanted at first glance by this little book, so I picked it up and ...more
Silvio Curtis
This book is set on a planet which is a penal colony. It's only human inhabitants were sent there from Earth on one-way spaceships. They came in two batches. The second one was banished from Earth for being nonviolent, the first evidently for something else. The first group is oppressing the second group. The book is about what happens when the second group mounts a nonviolent resistance movement to try to free themselves.

Le Guin characterizes of masculine and feminine ways of dealing with confl
...more
Danna
A beautiful portrait of civil disobedience, illustrating the principles of building peace through nonviolent resistance as practiced by Gandhi and Martin Luther King, among others. Deceptively simple, this quiet book guides readers to explore and absorb deep thoughts at their own pace without being heavy-handed.

Though not marketed directly for a YA audience, I hold this book up as one of the finest examples of what excellent YA fiction can be.
Bradley
I love Le Guin. But, I feel this story was subpar compared to some of her better works. On the planet Victoria, there are 2 cultures - a nonviolent one in the tradition of Gandhi and King, and a culture of exiled criminals that unapologetically use force. As usual, her writing is beautiful with a calm cadence to it that I savor most when I read her aloud.
Rainbowgardener
Still re-reading--sick for three weeks and doing comfort reading. This is her most Quakerly book. she is not that I know of a Quaker, but she clearly knows about us and our values and practices. Her colonists on a new planet, do not call themselves Quakers (they are "People of Peace"), but they call their church/ services Meeting. She is wonderful as always at exploring ideas/ ideals (in this case non-violent resistance and how it does and does not work in actual situations with actual human bei ...more
Rachel Welton
Eh, it was not the strongest of LeGuin books. Her balance between telling an interesting, moving story and preaching outright politics is often shaky, and this one teetered too far to the 'politics' side for my tastes . 'The Dispossessed' explored similar themes, but much more successfully.
Sarah
Not my favorite LeGuin novel, but still (of course) lovely. Not sure what didn't appeal to me - nothing, maybe, but nothing really grabbed me, either. I wanted more of the principles of the People of the Peace, more of the history, more of the world? I loved the telling of the story of the great march - that was the core of the whole book, and could have stood alone as a short story, but was more powerful integrated as the core story of the people in the novel. This was a bit like a combination ...more
Clackamas
Eh. This was just okay. There were a couple of things that I liked but mostly it felt tired.... like I'd read it all before. Maybe I HAD read it before but it just wasn't memorable.

Blah blah blah ... There's an acknowledged caste system and the pleebs are set on ending it but the city-folk know that would be the end of them. Oh, but the pleebs don't believe in violence so you can imagine how well rebellion works out for them.Both castes have infighting between the older and younger generations t
...more
Aubrey
I was pleasantly surprised by this book although I shouldn't have been since it's an Ursula K. Le Guin book and that means that of course it was good---I love how it's very clear in every book that she is tackling a philosophical question----and the best part is that she can do this in 179 pages, not a thousand---every word is carefully chosen, each thought is concise. Her language is simple, her thoughts clear. This book in particular discussed the many aspect of freedom and what happens when f ...more
Nich Plaza
A pesar de ser sencilla la historia, Ursula K. Le Guin nos lleva a otro mundo con problemas muy similares a los nuestros. Una historia para leer varias veces, con personajes muy queribles.
Juan Carlos
Un libro que cuenta una historia de una forma simple, sin mayores descripciones, un mundo minimalista, una política con pocas ideas en juego. Aún asi, esta narración tiene todos los elementos para emocionarnos, llevarnos a otro mundo donde los seres humanos solo son una pequeña mancha en la inmensidad e igualmente arreglarselas para sostener disputas y ponerse las cosas difíciles los unos a los otros.
Fácil de leer, ameno, una personalidad femenina fuerte, hombres que no llevan sus ideales hasta
...more
Asta Meisner
Not the best book out there, but I definetly enjoyes it
Liz
i didn't like this one that much. it was about a weird annoying race of pacifists. one of the things about le guin that sometimes diminishes my "yeah! right on, sister!" reaction is her tendency towards quietism. however, it actually ends up being kind of an interesting take on pacifism. there is a good deconstruction of the macho and theatrical nature of a lot of nonviolent passive resistance tactics. in the end the pacifists basically run away. I'm still not sure if that's a win or not.
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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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