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Four Ways to Forgiveness (Hainish Cycle #7)
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Four Ways to Forgiveness (Hainish Cycle #7)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  1,500 ratings  ·  111 reviews
At the far end of our universe, on the twin planets of Werel and Yeowe, all humankind is divided into "assets" and "owners," tradition and liberation are at war, and freedom takes many forms. Here is a society as complex and troubled as any on our world, peopled with unforgettable characters struggling to become fully human. For the disgraced revolutionary Abberkam, the ca...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published December 14th 2004 by Harper Perennial (first published 1994)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kat Kennedy
I think I may have found a new girl crush in Ursula K. Le Guin and her collection of four short stories, Four Ways To Forgiveness.

I never did like weak, insipid damsels in distress.

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In fact, I think it is those very characteristics that cause me to pull away from and revile books like Fallen, Twilight and Hush Hush. It seems to me that in these books, nobody aspires to be anything more than Mrs. Cullen and to terrorize the local woodland creatures as some sort of gothic reverse of Sn...more
Tatiana
Writing this review is hard, simply because I don't think I am equipped to adequately relay Ursula K. Le Guin's genius. She is one of the cleverest writers I have ever come across and her anthropological science fiction never ceases to amaze and distress me.

Of course, at the core of every sci-fi novel lies an alien world. The one depicted in this collection of 4 interconnected novellas is particularly gruesome IMO. This collection of stories is about slavery, freedom, and women's liberation. But...more
Ryan
Quintessential Le Guin. It's apparently part of the Hainish cycle, which I have never read. This seems like the "Tales from Earthsea" of the Hainish cycle: it's a collection of short stories that easily stand alone, but are part of the same universe as other books, and it's, most likely, the best book in the lot. I've heard, anyway, that people don't get that excited about the Hainish books, so I assume this one may stand out.

It's four, tangential stories that surround a slave rebellion and a wa...more
Elena
Four interconnected love stories between people from different and difficult backgrounds. All of them end up finding their way to -don't say forgiveness. don't...- to forgiveness, which clearly consists in an understanding partner and an useful occupation. It's settled in many planets, but it's mainly about one, Yeowe, that joins the narrative advantages of having just freed itself from a colonial, pro-slavery regime and being ruled by chauvinistic pigs. Luckily, none of the characters are nativ...more
Linda Robinson
This book was on the list from the Worlds Beyond Worlds Symposium, must-reads or would love to see as a film. Didn't know 'til just now that it was a number in the Hainish cycle. Doesn't read that on the book, but it's in the universe. This is a collection of 4 novellas intertwined with characters and locations in the system that includes planet Yeowe and planet Werel. The titles are Betrayals, Forgiveness Day, A Man of the People, and A Woman's Liberation. These are fiction along with a keen st...more
Emily
Four Ways to Forgiveness contains four novella set on the planet Werel and its colony planet, Yoewe. Werel has a violent and oppressive history and although having become technologically quite advance, the practice of slavery is still the basis of their society.

The first story is set on Yeowe following their War of Liberation and features an old woman and her relationship with a former Chief of the revolution. This story seems mostly to serve as exposition and a commentary on how elders are trea...more
Alexandra
There is just no denying it: Ursula le Guin is one of the greatest writers of the last 50 years (at least), and I firmly believe that the only reason she does not get more recognition for her commentary on race, politics, and - especially - gender - is because she sets much of that discussion off world. But, as I've mentioned before, this makes the discussion both easier to read - it's not my society being critiqued! - and harder-hitting, because when we see our faults in aliens... it hurts more...more
Kate
"At the far end of the universe, on the twin planets of Werel and Yeowe, all humankind is divided into 'assets' and 'owners', tradition and liberation are at war, and freedom takes many forms. Here is a society as complex and troubled as any on our world, peopled with unforgettable characters struggling to become fully human. For the disgraced revolutionary Abberkam, the callow 'space brat' Solly, the haughty soldier Teyeo, and the Ekuman historian and Hainish exile Havzhiva, freedom and duty bo...more
Nikki
The first story, Betrayals, is pretty nice, in a quiet way. It's set on one of her Hainish worlds, Yeowe, but it's not really alien or sci-fi in any way other than that -- it could easily be a story about our world. Werel is a slave-owning planet, and Yeowe its colony, and for some time when the story is set, Yeowe has had freedom, but they're still all fighting among themselves. That isn't the focus of the story, though it's wound into the background: in the foreground is an old woman, Yoss, an...more
Darceylaine
As I near the end of my quest to read every scrap of fiction LeGuin ever wrote, this one does not disappoint. 4 short stories about the same world in the midst of a revolution. I love that her first set of characters are old, and how quiet and personal that story is in contrast with the later stories. I also love her sense of particularity and how truth is local in "A Man of the People." My only criticism is that her stories are trying to cover whole lifetimes,so sometimes go in and out of focus...more
Silvio Curtis
Three worthwhile stories with a few boring or incohesive aspects, then "A Woman's Liberation", which is a real masterpiece. All the stories deal with the slavery-based culture of Werel (this is a different planet from the one in City of Illusions) and with its former colony Yeowe, which has expelled the owner race in a revolution but is still struggling to create a truly free society. In addition, the book contains a section of "notes" on the history and cultures of the two planets. A fifth good...more
Kim
The whole thing was great but I found the glimpse of Hain, in the setting of the scene for the third story of the book, a particularly interesting counterpoint to the more familiar settings of Werel and Yeowe. The vision and even the idea of a relatively stable society with hundreds of millennia of history is not a common one!

All four stories revolve around Werel and Yeowe, as they vie for membership of the Ekumen (a.k.a. galactic grown-ups' club). Werel is a planet with a single dominant empire...more
Lushr
The thing about Ursula Le Guin is that she is exquisite with words. I went into this book with no idea what it was I was reading. It is four different stories set on two worlds of humans in our very distant future. These worlds have ended up with a caste system of owners and slaves. But this tells you almost nothing you need to prepare you for the first story. [edit: and according to the comment below, the rest of the series won't help either]

Story one.
Focuses on two very isolated lives and how...more
Panagiotis
Forgiveness Day -Two different people, who represent two totally different civilizations and ways of thinking, are ''forced'' to come closer and in the end they discover that their differencies can not stop them from understanding or even love each other. (I wonder,do we all have to be locked in a room with someone totally different from us in order to open ourselves? Maybe it could work some times, since our intolerenace requires plenty of space to spread it's pointlessness.)

A man of the peopl...more
Ryan Williams
"But my people, she thought, know only how to deny. Born in the dark shadow of power misused, we set peace outside our world, a guiding and unattainable light. All we know to do is fight. Any peace one of us can make in our life is only a denial that the war is going on, a shadow of the shadow, a doubled unbelief."

"There are truths that are not useful. All knowledge is local, my friend has said. Is it true, where is it true, that that child had to die in that way? Is it true, where is it true, t...more
David Golding
A moving quartet of interrelated stories. With the first two stories, I was most impressed by how Le Guin went about in portraying diversity (of age, colour, sexuality, and politics) in what might otherwise be standard SF worlds populated by white men and their surrogates — SF so rarely grapples with any kind of diversity, even environmental — though the worlds of these stories (and any story) are still necessarily simpler than reality. With the third story, I also came to appreciate how Le Guin...more
Kate Savage
Ursula Le Guin reminds me of a sci-fi Alice Walker. Awesome sociopolitical analysis, a brain bursting with wisdom and love -- someone you would want as a best friend/mother/lover -- but that doesn't always mean you'll love the book.

Maybe it's that in her movement toward forgiveness in this book, Le Guin trips too quickly over the loss, and in the end I feel cheated by the happy ending. Or maybe it's that that the majority of people living in her difficult worlds don't end happily, and it seems...more
Kathleen
4 related stories...my first venture to LeGuin and part of my beach books (still afraid to take the nook), so I've been raiding the thrifts for $.50 SF trades! I loved the way the point of view and relations developed between the stories. Can't wait to read more!
Dharma Rascal
Hmm, first two tales great, second two... Not so much! But worth a read if, like me, you're a completist! UKLG forever!
Myyst
Η επιστροφή στον κόσμο του Χάιν, αυτή τη φορά με μία συλλογή από τέσσερα μεγάλα διηγήματα είναι ένα ταξίδι -και όχι τέσσερα- ιδεών, επανάστασης, απελευθέρωσης, επαναπροσδιορισμού και συγχώρεσης καθώς τελικά δεν απομένει τίποτε άλλο να γίνει σε αυτήν την επίπονη πορεία του ανθρώπου -και κυρίως της γυναίκας καθώς για την Le Guin μιλάμε, μην ξεχνιόμαστε- προς την αυτογνωσία μέσω των εμπειριών και της μελέτης των αιτιών που τις προκαλούν. Ένα ταξίδι ωρίμανσης που δεν έχει επιστροφή. "Ω, ω, Γεοβέ, κα...more
La Espada en la Tinta
En la prolífica carrera artística de la estadounidense Ursula K. Le Guin, exponente internacional de la fantasía y la ciencia ficción, el cuento y el relato corto han constituído una de las variantes literarias donde mayor desarrollo ha experimentado su excelente prosa. Revistas divulgativas y publicaciones americanas de la época especializadas en ciencia ficción han recogido gran parte de esa riqueza narrativa en forma de pequeñas historias, a menudo recompensada con premios de sobrada fama, co...more
Ri
I don't generally read or enjoy anthologies, but I love this collection because the characters, cultures, and narratives are all so rich and wonderfully full of people of different backgrounds connecting by seeing and working past what keeps them from understanding one another.

But what I really want to say is that the last two stories of this anthology, “A Man of the People” and “A Woman’s Liberation,” are just two beautiful and complementary character-driven stories that have stolen my heart fo...more
manuti
Otro de la lista de 2004-2005. Este libro de ciencia-ficción me lo regaló «la lectora que se ríe de la ciencia-ficción» y como además tarde algo así como 6 años en leérmelo desde que me lo habían regalado, no contribuyó a que hubiese muchos más libros de ese género.
Los libros tienen eso, tienen su momento, empiezas a leerlo y no te engancha, lo ves en la estantería y dejas pasar el tiempo, y de repente un día lo coges y lo lees del tirón.
Este libro no es ninguna obra maestra, le doy 3 estrellas...more
Outis
A smart and memorable political book about slavery, imperialism, patriarchy and social change. It's mostly reflexive in tone, light in plot and heavy in worldbuilding. It's of course woven with intriguing cultural stuff of the made up variety (including a look at Hain) and Le Guin tempered the exposition and her lecturing with a lot of up-close-and-personal stuff. There are a bunch of interesting and sometimes touching characters as well as several narrators who are often far from omniscient. Al...more
Alice
I made the mistake of reading this book while staffing a week long conference (CFW Mark 2) and didn't have enough brain space to fully explore the themes in this collection of short stories. I need to read it one more time.

Set in a futuristic universe in the years following a slave rebellion on a distant planet, freedom is not what it seems as women continue to be oppressed and wars run rampant on the freed planet.

I was surprised that the four short stories actually revolve around four differe...more
Encruzilhadas Literárias
Existem algo de único na Ursula Le Guin, isto é, uma pessoa pode amar ou odiar os seus livros. Seria de imaginar que uma escritora a que estamos habituados mantém um certo nível de escrita, ou pelos menos um certo estilo, mas não, Le Guin não o faz. O seu livro "Lavinia" não pode ser comparado nem ao "Ciclo de Terramar", nem ao "Dia do Perdão". O "Tormento dos Céus" é também ele outro livro totalmente à parte. A ligá-los a todos há apenas uma linha com a qual se escreve o nome da autora. Quem le...more
Tatiana
This book is four stories about a solar system joining the Hainish Ekumen. Two of the worlds are inhabited, one colonized from the other. The systems have a history of slavery, and some of the stories are told from the point of view of Ekumen observers or ambassadors, others from the point of view of natives of the system, either owner-class or slave-class. All four are very real and alive, and very touching. I'm wondering how UKL came to feel so much for people enslaved, and people dispossessed...more
Mara
Jun 10, 2008 Mara rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who wants to change themselves and the world
Shelves: literary_sci-fi
I've been on a real Le Guin kick lately, but this is easily the best of her story sets that I've read in a long time and showcases her great love and understanding of all humanity (and I don't use the hyperbole lightly). Le Guin never goes for the easy solution, the tied-up ending, the parable, or the POINT. As she says, "Stories are not fortune cookies." Her goal instead is to illustrate the opportunities we have as people to improve ourselves through righteous choices and through a collective...more
Yasmeen
3.5-- Argh, I need half stars.
The more I read Ursula K Le Guin, the more I appreciate her work. Her treatment of gender is always thought provoking, interesting and more or less subtle. Science fiction should make you think, and her work does that beautifully. I've also come to enjoy the way she writes.
I liked the idea of having several novellas taking place in the same "world." It was refreshing and well done. I didn't connect much to the slavery theme per se (well, most of the time- there wer...more
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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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“I have told the story I was asked to tell. I have closed it, as so many stories close, with a joining of two people. What is one man's and one woman's love and desire, against the history of two worlds, the great revolutions of our lifetimes, the hope, the unending cruelty of our species? A little thing. But a key is a little thing, next to the door it opens. If you lose the key, the door may never be unlocked. It is in our bodies that we lose or begin our freedom, in our bodies that we accept or end our slavery. So I wrote this book for my friend, with whom I have lived and will die free.” 14 likes
“There are two kinds of knowledge, local and universal.” 10 likes
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