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City of Illusions

(Hainish Cycle #3)

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  4,676 ratings  ·  375 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
Mass Market Paperback, 10701, 160 pages
Published 1970 by Ace Books (first published 1967)
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3.85  · 
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 ·  4,676 ratings  ·  375 reviews

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Jul 29, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
A strong 4 stars. I really enjoyed this 1967 novel, set on a far-future version of Earth. A man stumbles through the forest, his mind a complete blank slate, his eyes alien, golden cat's eyes. He's taken in and taught by a small group of humans, who teach him their language and give him the name of Falk, but eventually he is encouraged to leave and go find out who he really is.

And so a dangerous, cross-country journey begins. Earth is sparsely populated by humans who live very simply, reportedly
Jan 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-fiction
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
Jan 25, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm reading this for the "Evolution of SF" group

I always feel as if I should like LeGuin more, especially the Hannish Cycle, of which this is #3, the one before The Left Hand of Darkness which is supposed to be a true classic. While I did like the original EarthSea trilogy & The Lathe of Heaven, these books are just OK yet most seem to think they have great messages & are fantastically written. I don't understand it. The idea of a race that changes
Jun 27, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Multe descrieri de locuri, de personaje, de ginduri.
Cartea este compusa din 3 povesti care se leaga pe o durata de citeva mii de ani.

Are ceva actiune, te pune pe ginduri, te face sa cauti diverse scenarii.
E ok.
Sep 22, 2011 rated it liked it
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
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
Feb 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Właściwie to mocne 4,5. Ta książka zostawiła mnie z potężnym uczuciem pozytywnego niedosytu i bardzo chciałbym wiedzieć "co było dalej". Ba, bardzo mnie zafascynowało to, jaka kultura rozwinęła się na Werel po "Planecie wygnania". Naprawdę polubiłam głownego bohatera. I nie wiem czemu, ale Dom Zove bardzo kojarzy mi się z Rivendel.
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Oldukça sürükleyici, her seferinde beklediğimi aldığım, alıştığım LeGuin tarzı bir hikaye daha. Werelli Ramarrenin Dünyalı Falka dönüşümü ve sonunda Falk-Ramarren olarak Werele dönüşü. Sıkılmadan okudum.
Charles Dee Mitchell
May 25, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: mid-century-sf
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
Apr 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, american, fiction, scifi
"There's always more than one way towards the truth. Strap yourself in."
- Ursula K. Le Guin, City of Illusions


"Truth, as ever, avoids the stranger."
- Ursula K. Le Guin, City of Illusions

'City of Illusions' is the third book in LOA's Ursula K. Le Guin: Hainish Novels and Stories, Vol. 1. It was originally published in 1967. It has two main narrators Falk and Ramarren. It is infused with anthropology, philosophical speculations on the nature of truth, time, lies, patterns, knowledge, mortality, i
Mar 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
David (דוד)
A decent book. Great imagination of imagery, surroundings and ideas; loved this part the most. Liked the first half more than the other. Bleak dystopian landscape. Various factions of Terrans displaying different expert abilities, was nice. Interesting ideas, like Mindspeech, Talking animals (a slightly disturbing idea), lying and mind-lies, etc. Overall story was okay/good. The journey of the Quest was interesting. Perhaps not amongst one of Le Guin's finest books.

A one-time-read certainly reco
Arax Miltiadous
Dec 21, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
" 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.
Fairly early work by Ms. Le Guin in the soi disant Hainish Cycle, and this is definitely one of the novels that the author cites as having "some discrepancies", is how I believe she puts it. We're starting to see here a merge of hard sci-fi adventure into a more sociological and exploratory area. I'm old-fashioned in my choice of favorites, so I like the adventure and "man of action" vibe in this book. It also has a hint of Norton again, with a mysterious outsider alone against a hostile environ ...more
Kat  Hooper
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
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’
Mike Hankins
Jul 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, sci-fi
I've been going through LeGuin's Hainish Cycle (in publication order), and this one has definitely gotten me hooked, and seems to be where the series has really started coming into its own. The story is fairly simple -- a strange, alien-looking man awakes with no memory in the forest and has to go on a journey to figure out what is going on. But the themes are rich and there's so much interesting stuff to like here.

For me the two ideas that came through most strongly was 1) The problem of other
Aug 13, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I am again amazed at Le Guin’s capability of creating a world, a strange culture so vividly. This book is about a journey of self-discovery, an adventure, a quest, it is about trust, history, perspectives, ways of life, and belief, it is about (view spoiler).

«Truth, as ever, avoids the stranger.»

«There’s always more than one way towards the truth.»
Oct 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Uzak gelecekte geçen bir benlik arayışı macerası, sürükleyici bir yol hikayesi. Yalın, durağan ama merak uyandırıcı. Le Guin severleri tatmin edecektir.

Le Guin'in yazdığı üçüncü roman. Hainish'e dahil ama kurgusal evren henüz Hainish ismiyle anılmıyor. "Dünyalar Birliği" var burada. İlk üç kitapta Hainish vurgusu yok zaten. Hainish ve/veya Ekumen sonradan kavramlaştırılıyor ama aynı şey aslında.

Çok şart olmasa da okuma sırasına dikkat etmek iyi olur. Yanılsamalar Kenti'nde özellikle Sürgün Geze
6/10. Media de los 23 libros leídos de la autora : 7/10

La casi siempre efectiva Le Guin no suele ser nunca una mala opción de lectura. Te podrá sorprender más o menos, pero suele ser interesante leerla.
Recordemos que escribió mucho, mucho, tiene varios Hugo, Nébula, Locus y demás y fue la primera Gran Maestra de la CF.
Vladimir Ivanov
Feb 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Неожиданно Вэнсовский роман, где потерявший память молодой герой путешествует по потерявшей память древней планете, которой правят то ли анонимные пастыри, то ли тайные тираны, и за каждым лицом прячется маска, и каждая фраза скрывает интригу.

Очень неплохо, но совсем непохоже на ту Ле Гуин, которую мы все знаем и любим.
Zeynep Atakır
Apr 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
İyi ki okumuşum seneye bir daha okuyacağım 😇
Aug 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Septimus Brown
Apr 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
The League of All Worlds has fallen to the devious Shing--an alien civilization with the ability to lie in mindspeech, but that forbids killing. The Shing have relegated humanity to small, isolated populations with limited technologies. That, at least, is what Falk is told by the Terrans who rescue him, naked but for a gold ring on his finger, and wandering the far-future forests of Earth with his mind all but erased. Falk must set out to discover who he is and why his memories were razed. In do ...more
Pyza Wędrowniczka
Po dwóch pierwszych powieściach z cyklu Hain czytelnik myśli sobie, że wie, czego może się spodziewać. A jednak, chociaż osnute wokół podobnych wzorców fabularnych, „Miasto złudzeń” rozbija to nastawienie.
Feb 01, 2014 rated it liked it
Beautiful writing (as ever) but not quite as compelling as some of her other works.
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Ursula K. Le Guin 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. She lived in Portland, Orego ...more

Other books in the series

Hainish Cycle (6 books)
  • Rocannon's World
  • Planet of Exile (Hainish Cycle #2)
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4)
  • The Word for World is Forest
  • The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle #6)
“I am no more lonely than the loon on the pond that laughs so loud.” 14 likes
“Fish and visitors stink after three days.” 7 likes
More quotes…