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De Shing-begoocheling
Ursula K. Le Guin
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De Shing-begoocheling (Hainish Cycle)

3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  2,410 ratings  ·  165 reviews
He was a fully grown man, alone in dense forest, with no trail to show where he had come from and no memory to tell who — or what — he was.
His eyes were not the eyes of a human.
The forest people took him in and raised him almost as a child, teaching him to speak, training him in forest lore, giving him all the knowledge they had. But they could not solve the riddle of his
Paperback, Prisma-science fiction, 186 pages
Published 1972 by Spectrum (first published 1967)
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City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin is a part of her Hainish cycle of books.

This work involves an alien traveler who has arrived in a forest region of what was once the eastern United States with amnesia. His journey across the continent allows Le Guin to describe a dystopian landscape that could compliment the future as described by Walter M. Miller, Jr’s A Canticle for Leibowitz.

The book is highlighted by Le Guin’s remarkable imagination and her sparse but descriptive prose. The subject m
J.G. Keely
Like the rest of the early books in the Hainish series, this one has a very familiar tone and plot. We have our isolated, alienated protagonist on his quest for one single goal through an unpredictable world which he cannot comprehend, making strangely disconnected romantic liaisons on the way, and constantly lost in thought about how human relationships are supposed to work.

But of all the series, this book uses these recurrent themes in the most interesting and naturalistic ways. The first half
Parth and her family live in a comfortable house in the forest, in a timeless tranquility. Suddenly, a man with yellow eyes and no mind stumbles into the sunny clearing where she sits weaving. How's that for an alien encounter scene?

This book takes place on a mysteriously depopulated future Earth. For some reason, perhaps because it's so far from the reality of the tamed landscape of this isle, I've had recurring dreams and fantasies of the land covered in forest 'thick with deer' with only occa
Se jugaba entero a esta creencia: que un hombre honesto no puede ser engañado, que la verdad, si el juego se jugaba hasta las últimas consecuencias conduciría a la verdad.

Un hombre con los ojos amarillos con pupilas semejantes a un gato sale del Bosque sin memoria, una comunidad lo cuida, le enseña su lengua, y después de unos años Falk-como le han llamado- decide ir en busca de respuestas y quienes probablemente le dejaron asi: los Shing.

Durante su jornada se muestra una Tierra post-apocalipt
A man wanders out of the forest with a severe case of amnesia. The locals take him in and try to teach him their ways, as it is obvious that he is not of their world. When he has learned all he can from them, he must set out across the vast continent toward the city of Es Toch, hopefully to figure out where he came from, why he is there and what happened to his memory. The most important lesson imparted to him from the forest people is to trust no one, particularly the Shing.
Three quarters of t
Charles Dee Mitchell
Other reviewers emphasize that there is no need to read La Guin's Hainish series in any particular order. But I do not know what I would have made of City of Illusions had I not read Planet of Exile first. When this novel came out, there had been three Hainish novels published in two years, and so readers did not have the eight novels we have now to choose from. It's more likely that readers came to this work with the first two under their readers' belts. Writing about City of Illusions opens up ...more
Arax Miltiadous
" στα χρόνια που ταξίδευαν ανάμεσα στα αστέρια,
ποιος ήταν ο ονειρευόμενος και πιο το όνειρο?"

Πολύ μου άρεσε το βιβλίο αυτό. Οι περιγραφές της Le Guin τόσο πλούσιες και περίτεχνες που με βάλανε εντελώς μέσα στο βιβλίο. Δηλαδή πραγματικά, έβλεπα τα κίτρινα γατίσια μάτια του Φαλκ να με ακολουθούν παντού και νόμιζα πως όλοι μου λέγανε ψέματα.
Τι είναι ψευδαίσθηση τελικά αν όχι η παρερμήνευση της πραγματικότητας?
Συνιστώ ανεπιφύλακτα.
Le Guin is a master at taking a workaday story of a protagonist suffering from acute amnesia (sound familiar?) and turning it into a focused think-piece on self awareness and discovery of who we really are. It took a long time in the narrative to get to the core premise, but when it was revealed, it made me put the book down for a minute to really contemplate Le Guin's theme.

In one of Joan Didion's essays she opines, "We are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be - w
Kat  Hooper
Originally published at FanLit

“You go to the place of the lie to find out the truth?”

Ursula K. Le Guin’s HAINISH CYCLE continues with City of Illusions, which I liked better than its predecessors, Rocannon’s World and Planet of Exile. City of Illusions takes place on Earth sometimes in the far future after an alien invasion has killed off most of the people and has completely changed the Earth’s ecology, infrastructure, and geopolitical arrangement. There’
Samantha Waxman
City of Illusions was my favorite of the trilogy (Rocannon's World and Planet of Exile.) Like the others, it's about a journey of sorts, and starts off slow and gradually builds in intensity. But to me it was also the most mature work of the three, dealing with themes of illusion, dissolution, and dystopia.

We begin with a madman, or child-man, in the woods who has no memory of his past, and who is taken in and cared for by a forest family. After he recuperates, the patriarch of the family has a
Ursula Le Guin sure is interested in putting people from an advanced civilizations into primitive ones and seeing how they deal with a radically new set of customs. But she's such a fantastic writer, and is exceptionally good at using these situations to examine multiple cultures at once.

City of Illusions changes things up a bit from the first two books in there is also something of a mystery element: our protagonist actually may or may not be from an advanced civilization. We don't know, and n
Grace Troxel
This review originally appeared on my blog, Books Without Any Pictures:

City of Illusions is the story of an alien who awakens on earth with amnesia. He doesn’t know who he is or why he’s there, but a group of earthlings take him in, and he takes the name Falk. From these people, Falk learns Earth’s history. It was a technologically advanced society, but then the Shing invaded. The Shing are kind of like parasites; they rule the world, but they don’t build
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Buck Ward
Ursula K Le Guin wrote city of Illusions in 1967, the third book in the Hainish Cycle, the one before The Left Hand of Darkness. Unlike The Left Hand of Darkness, City of Illusions didn't win awards and it is not on lists of books one should read. What a great oversight that is. This is a terrific book. I enjoyed it immensely.

Our protagonist stumbles out of the forest, knowing nothing, remembering nothing, naked, amnesiac. He is taken in by a clan of forest people who nurture him, teach him, and
Fantastic and wonderful. Much more cerebral than Left Hand of Darkness, at least towards the middle-to-end. So far I am loving the Hainish series of books, how they all share one vast over-arching SciFi setting but yet aren't bogged down with telling some huge impersonal epic. Each installment is a single examination of a new world, new and very unique characters with unique conflicts with different stakes and subtext - it makes the setting more interesting to me than say Isamov's Foundation ser ...more
Fulfilment of my desire to read all of Ursula le Guin's work continues apace, but this did not actually move me towards my goal... since as soon as I opened it I realised that I had read it before (in a double with Rocannon's World). However, my memory being what it is, I couldn't remember details, so I just kept on reading.

City kinda fits into the Hainish cycle, but doesn't really. It's set on an Earth that has been a part of the League of All Worlds - the general background for the Hainish no
Haralambi Markov
“City Of Illusions” is the third book in the Hainish cycle, which I had happened to stumble on, before I reached “The Left Hand of Darkness” and I wasn’t left disappointed. From the three so far I enjoyed this book the most.

The story this time is set on Earth, our Earth referred to as Terra in the distant future and well we pretty much find it in ruins in a state after a major apocalypse, but not the way most people think. Terra has healed all wounds, has overgrown all the cities, know humans ar
This book really surprised me. Firstly, it was a lot shorter than I anticipated. I enjoyed the story so much and was totally caught up in the main character that I felt a bit left behind at the end. I was listening to the audiobook and felt a bit of sadness when it ended. I could feel it was a conclusion, but I wish I knew what happened to Falk.

Secondly, the story is a lot older than I imagined. It reminded me a lot of Orson Scott Card's Ender series. Upon further inspection I found out that Cit
The book ''City of Illusions'' was a really nice surprise for me.Small in size,very easy to read and with a very interesting main character,the book has a really good pace and a lot of suspense.

The fact that the Shing race' domination on Earth was based not in weapons but in their extremelly unique ability to play mind games and lie,made the main hero's task extremely difficult.

However once more Le Guin's ability to make her heroes outreach their problems and triupmh,not through violence but mos
Chris Rigby
Imagine an Earth so far in the future that the Age Of Cities, of interplanetary exploration and the League of Worlds, is more than a thousand years in the past. Imagine an Earth where mankind lives in the spreading forests, plains and wildernesses, in small communities that have no way of communicating with each other. Now imagine a man - with yellow eyes : non-human? - who arrives at a Forest settlement, with no memory of his past or origins. Brought back to life and educated in the ways of the ...more
With his odd yellow cat's eyes, Falk appears suddenly -- naked and without any memory of his origins -- in the Eastern Forests of the planet called Earth. He is brought up by kindly forest people, but decides to travel by himself to the "City of Liars," Es Toch, from which the Shing rule the planet. For most of City of Illusions, we follow Falk who is treated with welcome or with cruelty by the various peoples he meets on his way. Eventually, he hooks up with a woman named Estrel while they are ...more
Joe Santoro
Plot: The League of Worlds has fallen, and Earth has been reduced to a small smattering of pre-industrial villages that hang on to the the small bits of high technology that still work. The alien Shing use a campaign of lies, spies, and technology to make sure they don't rediscover what was lost. One man with yellow eyes and no memory might be the savior of Earth, or the last straw for humanity.

Analysis: It's been a while since I read them, but I really don't see much connection between this and
"Les mondes habités, leurs races d'hommes et leurs animaux, les constellations de leurs ciels, leurs cités, leurs chansons, leurs usages, tout cela est perdu, aussi irrémédiablement perdu pour nous que pour toi ton enfance. Que savons-nous de certain sur le temps de notre grandeur ? Les noms de quelques mondes et de quelques héros, un fatras de faits dont nous avons essayé de coudre les morceaux pour en faire une histoire. La loi des Shings interdit le meurtre, mais ils ont tué le savoir, ils on ...more
I did not realize until reading other reviews, after I finished the book, that this was part of a series. I like that. I realized a couple of years ago that I had not read any books by Le Guin and decided that needed to be remedied, so I bought a couple. However, it still took a while before I actually read one -- too long.

Falk has no memory before he is discovered by the forest people. He doesn't look like them, in that he has very strange eyes. They take him in and teach him as a child. After
Joakim Ruud
Allow me to reminisce a little. I first read this book when I was 11 or 12, my grandmother had brought me into town, to a bookshop and told me I could have any book I wanted. My eyes fell on this strange, slim book. Its cover had no lasers or spaceships or monsters or knights in armour. Nothing that a pre-teen might find cool. Instead it was an eerie yellow-green room, with a person sitting on the floor with legs splayed, like a child, and two others in garish dress posed theatrically, and the w ...more
This is not one of LeGuin's best novels, but it is fairly interesting nonetheless. It is the best of the first three Hainish novels. There are several interesting ideas incorporated into the story: telepathy, mind "razing", split personalities, and an Earth reduced to a small population and the cities overgrown by nature. Much of the novel deals with the character Falk (who has no memory) on a journey across the continent in an effort to find out who he is. It is a fairly decent adventure story ...more
This book is pretty great. It's another in the Hainish Cycle, which all share the same setting but do not share much else in common; they are typically separated from each other by hundreds or thousands of years. This book was originally written in the 60s so I couldn't find a good ebook version; I read it as a PDF.

Overall I was really impressed by this little story. The main character was complex and engaging, the storyline was compelling and kept me on the edge of my seat, and the setting (wh
Like other reviewers, I found a lot of similarities between the Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, and City of Illusions (and for that matter The Left Hand of Darkness): a lone hero character crosses a great distance with a few companions, seeking knowledge that has been lost in his part of the world and ultimately realizing that he is the only one who can save the world. It's a classic story, but I found it uncomfortable that so many books in the same series were so similar.

City of Illusions is
Vitor Frazão
Talvez por ser o único dos livros da autora sobre a "Liga dos Mundos" em que a terra é o cenário e não apenas uma referência distante, a narrativa tem um teor mais pessoal, aumentado por ser igualmente o mais extenso dos três e aquele em que há mais investimento na construção psicológica do protagonista.
Bem narrado e com alguns reviravoltas interessante.
This one is rich with themes that are personally meaningful to me, of integrity, self discovery, truth and violence. The protagonist, Falk, due to some psychic destruction done to him in the past, does not know who or even what he is. Partly of his own will and partly pushed by others, he sets out for the City of Lies, home of the Enemy, the Shing, the People of the Lie, to seek his true self. The People of the Lie have one law, Reverence for Life, "do not kill." But Falk is a hunter by necessit ...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...

Other Books in the Series

Hainish Cycle (8 books)
  • The Dispossessed
  • The Word for World is Forest
  • Rocannon's World
  • Planet of Exile
  • The Left Hand of Darkness
  • Four Ways to Forgiveness
  • The Telling (Hainish Cycle #8)

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“I am no more lonely than the loon on the pond that laughs so loud.” 10 likes
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