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The Telling

(Hainish Cycle #8)

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  5,004 ratings  ·  432 reviews
Once a culturally rich world, the planet Aka has been utterly transformed by technology. Records of the past have been destroyed, and citizens are strictly monitored. But an official observer from Earth named Sutty has learned of a group of outcasts who live in the wilderness. They still believe in the ancient ways and still practice its lost religion - the Telling.

Mass Market Paperback, 231 pages
Published August 1st 2003 by Ace (first published September 2000)
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3.90  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,004 ratings  ·  432 reviews

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Jul 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
When reading Le Guin's books, I'm often fooled into thinking that the story is only reaching my brain. I realize too late that it's worked its way into my heart and will demand tears by the end.

Back when I did my 2015 wrap-up, I mentioned two seemingly unrelated categories of books that I had enjoyed: 1) science fiction by women, and 2) stories about self-reflection in the countryside. To my surprise, one of my first reads of 2016 was both of those things.

Sutty was born on a future Earth overr
Aug 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Ursula K. LeGuin returns to her Hainsih cycle in The Telling but begins on dear old Terra.

First published in 2000, The Telling has as LeGuin’s outside-looking-in observer / narrator the Ekumen trained Sutty. In LeGuin’s Hainish universe, the Ekumen is an alliance of like-minded worlds who seek to re-unite humanity form the galaxy wide and eons old diaspora of the original Hain colonizers.

LeGuin first wrote about the Hain as the original source of humanity. Hundreds of thousands of years ago, pe
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018, american, fiction, scifi
“We're not outside the world... We are the world. We're its language. So we live and it lives. You see? If we don't say the words, what is their in our world?”
― Ursula K. Le Guin, The Telling


Le Guin, so far, for me, has yet to disappoint. This is one of her more Eastern-influenced books. There are elements of Buddhism (and a real feeling of Tibet) that runs throughout this novel. It is a book about a world (Aka) where the corporation/government has outlawed history, culture and writing. Books ha
Rachel (Kalanadi)
Mar 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This story is very true. Some parts gave me a weird, deep emotional ache. It's fiction, but it's not.

Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became
I'm going to use an arguably banal and trite metaphor here: that of a love affair. Okay, maybe not so arguable. It is a banal and trite metaphor. But that’s okay, I think, because the “relationship” many of us experience with our books and our authors is like a love affair, is it not? So forget that the metaphor is worn or hackneyed, because it’s apt, and it’s something to which many of you will relate, and it’s the best way I can think of to communicate how this book affected me.

To be more prec
Oct 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reviewed for The Bibliophibian.

It’s been a long time since I read this — longer than I thought, in fact, and I’ve come to the conclusion I must have read it originally as a very young teen. I’m not sure how well I really took it on board, then: I wasn’t as much into the kind of cerebral, considering, anthropological fiction that Ursula Le Guin did so beautifully. Granted, I was excited about Sutty being a lesbian, and I found aspects of the world interesting, but I really wasn’t ready to enter i
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy-horror, scifi
At her best, Ursula K. Le Guin is one of the most inventive of writers. In The Telling, she writes about a world, called Aka, which has received fragmentary information from Earth and interpreted it the wrong way, creating a corporation state which attempted to create a Stalinist bureaucracy and destroy the old ways that prevailed before first contact.

Arriving on the scene is an Anglo-Indian representative, named Sutty, who task it is to investigate what remained of the old ways and report back
Uğur Karabürk
Kitabı okurken zorlandım, çok fazla betimleme vardı. Ursula'nın okuduğum ilk kitabı olan Yanılsamalar Kenti'ni daha çok beğenmiştim.
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've never wanted to review a book here before but for some reason this one makes me want to.

I should start by saying this is the only Ursula K. Le Guin novel I've read so I can't compare it to any others but I really really liked this novel. I bought it on a whim because it had a queer woman of colour as the main character and so many of the books I read about white straight men and I thought this would be a change. Which it definitely was. I thought the treatment of Sutty's relationships throu
Burak Mermer
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitap güzel, çeviri idare eder.

Le Guin okuyanlar bilirler, kendisinin en ünlü iki bilimkurgu eserinde (Mülksüzler ve Karanlığın Sol Eli) standart bir şablon vardır: belli bir kültürde yetişmiş bir karakteri alır ve onu çok daha farklı bir kültürün kök saldığı bir gezegene koyar. Biz de böylece hem o karakteri iyice tanırız hem de onun gözünden bu farklı, büyüleyici yeni kültürü görürüz. Anlatış'ta da bu şablon devam ediyor ve yine çok ilginç bir dünyaya, Aka gezegenine gidiyoruz. Başkarakterimi
Sep 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: award-locus, awards
Le Guin‘s reckoning of China‘s Great Leap Forward, transported to her Hainish Universe.
Too much an analogy for my taste.
Dawn Christoffersen
Jan 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m running out of positive superlatives I can describe Le Guin’s work with. I could happily spend the rest of my life listening to her anthropological observations. This story is an intellectual exercise in listening but also in storytelling, and while our Terran main character functions mainly as a vessel through whom we explore the culture and language on the planet she has been sent to by the Hain, it does not prevent us from caring about her or the people she interacts with, and it’s always ...more
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: sf-and-fantasy
"בפעם הקודמת כשקראתי את ""מלאפרנה"", כבר כתבתי שאני לא מצליחה להתחבר לסגנון של לה גווין, ולמרות שהיא נחשבת לאחת הסופרות המוצלחות והמכובדות, הכתיבה שלה לטעמי פילוסופית מידי והעלילה לא מתפתחת בקצב הראוי. כשהתחלתי לקרוא את ""ההגדה"" היו לי ציפיות, הן נבעו בחלקן מההנחה שזה ספר חדש יחסית שפורסם בשנת 2000 ע""י הסופרת. מה שעוד יצר אצלי ציפיות מופרזות היה דיון על הסידרה ""ארץ ים"". כמה חבל שוב לחוש את אותה תחושה של אי מיצוי ואכזבה. העלילה בבסיסה פשוטה, סאטי משקיפה מטעם האוקמנים נשלחת לקאקא עולם שרק עתה ...more
Nov 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The Telling once more proves to me why UKL is one of my favorite writers. With themes concerning freedom of religion and the nature of religion, capitalism, cultural dissonance and appropriation, The Telling feels both absolutely contemporary and timeless.

Sutty crosses space to study Aka culture as an anthropologist, yet by the time she arrives (space travel takes decades), Aka culture has completely shifted from a literate society to an intentionally illiterate society of producer-consumers, w
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ursula-atölye
Arkadi ve Boris Strugatski kardeşlerin Tanrı Olmak Zor İş kitabının arka kapağında LeGuin'in tavsiyesi var. Büyük bir heyecanla kitabı okumuş, ama umduğumu bulamamıştım. (
Sanıyorum, Ursula K. LeGuin, Anlatış'ı yazarken bu noktadan yola çıkmış: "Ya sadece Gözlemci olmayı başaramıyorsak? Ya sadece bizim gözlüyor olmamız bile normal seyri değiştiriyorsa?" tabii ki bu sorular kurgunun altına gizlenmiş, hafif hafif hissettiriyor kendini. Ana konu, Anlatış, ba
Ivan Lutz
Jun 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Svi koji me znaju, znaju da obožavam dva-tri pisca više od drugih. Jedna od te usamljene skupine je i božica osobno - Ursula le Guin. Osma knjiga Hainish ciklusa pisana 2000 godine i nije ponudila ništa šaroliko, lepršavo kao što su to ponudile ranije knjige iz ciklusa. Planet Aka je dobro osmišljen totalitaran svijet u kojemu se narod odriče prošlosti, spaljuje knjige i okreće se sadašnjem trenutku, te čuva svoja blaga kroz prepričavanje priča s koljena na koljeno. Ima tu dobrih ideja, dobrih r ...more
Septimus Brown
Dec 24, 2018 rated it liked it
I'm sad to give anything by Le Guin a 3/5, but this book just didn't do it for me. I simply didn't fall in love with the protagonist. This was my low point in the Hainish Cycle... but the only low point! We've moved quite far from planets with flying cats (Rocannon's World), anti-colonial revolution (The Word for World is Forest), epic adventures into the unknown (City of Illusions, Planet of Exile), and touching portrayals of human struggle (The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and Four ...more
Dec 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sf, lgbt
Sutty is a lesbian of Indian descent who is from a future Earth that has been racked by a terrible war between those who believe in monotheist religion and those who believe in scientific progress. Sutty trains to become an ambassador to the world Aka, a world of humans which has only just been given access to technology such as computers and aeroplanes. Le Guin writes an elusive narrative about conflict and nuance. On the world of Aka, scientific progress is everything, and the government has b ...more
Jan 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
I was given this book as part of a book chain I've joined. I was honestly glad to have it because I've heard so much about Ursula K Le Guin and I've always felt that I should give her a try at least once. And I tried. I really tried. I acknowledge that her writing can be quite beautiful, but this was way too slow moving with far too many banal details for me. The characters were flat and I felt nothing for any of them. It feels like this was not written with a plot in mind, but rather intended t ...more
Mar 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Toiselta planeetalta tullut antopologi matkustaa maaseudulle vieraaseen ympäristöön ja yrittää ymmärtää, mistä paikan perinteissä ja kulttuurissa on kyse. Tämän uuden planeetan kulttuuri on kuin peilikuva hänen omastaan: uskonnottomat alistavat uskonnollisia, pyrkivät pyyhkimään sen pois. Vai onko Kertominen uskonto? Mistä siinä oikein on kyse? Miten täysin vierasta kulttuuria voi ylipäätään yrittää ymmärtää?

Tällaiselle folkloristiikan - siis kansanperinteentutkimuksen - opiskelijalle kuin minä
Jun 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When Le Guin died early in 2018, I had never read any of her work. But artists and activists I follow and respect on Twitter began to say things about her that intrigued me, how she addressed herself to political and social themes in her work. So as I wandered the stacks of my local public library I picked up the only novel of hers they had, The Telling.

I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It tells the story of an alien observer, Sutty, to the planet of Aka. There is an intriguing interplay of colonial/explo
Feb 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Telling is situated in Ursula Le Guin's ingeniously imagined Hainish universe. Six novels and several short stories have previously chronicled the Hainish experience through the worlds they have touched The stories take place several hundred years into Earth's future, where we learn that humanity is the result of Hanish colonization of the habitable worlds in the universe. Le Guin gives each of the numerous Hain worlds, includingbEarth, a distinct society, ensuring herself of a plethora of c ...more
Jul 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Ovo je priča o svijetu koji je napustio, potisnuo i izbrisao cjelokupnu svoju povijest i kulturu kako bi se svojim novim korporativnim uređenjem što više priklonio naprednim hainskim rasama koje su otkrile njihov svijet i kako bi ubrzao njihov Put ka zvijezdama. Mlada Promatračica Sutty, također dijete nasilja kako je naziva njezin nadređeni, dobiva zadatak istražiti u zabačenom dijelu svijeta Ake, ostatke ostataka nekadašnjeg vjerovanja, kulture i književnosti. Za razliku od nekadašnjeg unistič ...more
Michael Gray
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Reading this excellent novel by Ursula LeGuin highlights a question about literary form. Why does the form of science fiction include so many profound explorations of what it means to be human, of what is fragile and at risk in the world in which we live, while raising our awareness of what is most worth preserving. Well, perhaps there are not that many profound works, but Ursula Leguin, as well as Stanislaw Lem and Philip Dick, come quickly to mind as writers who shine a light on the human expe ...more
Gülsen Sırma
Okuduğum Le Guin kitapları içinde ortalama bir yere koydum bu kitabı. Aslında konusu ve okuyucuya vermek istediği anafikir itibariyle özünde iyi bir hikaye. Fakat bana mı öyle geldi bilmiyorum, okurken çok fazla betimlemeyle karşılaştım ve akıcılıkta ağır olduğunu hissettim.

Konusu itibariyle, iktidar ve devletlerin din ya da bilim adı altında her iki şekilde de nasıl baskıcı olabileceği ve halka çektirdiği zulümlerin bir hikayesi. Birbirinden farklı iki gezegen ve iki toplum, hatta aynı gezegen
Jenny (Reading Envy)
When I first started listening to The Telling, I didn't realize it was in the same universe as The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness, in fact I didn't know those two books were related either. So this story takes place in a loosely related world, but on a new planet. Sutty has been sent to collect the printed historical record, but arrives to discover most of it has been destroyed. Her own life on Terra was destroyed when her lover was killed by drones, and being sent to Aka may or may ...more
Joel  Werley
“I know who you are," she said. "You're my enemy. The true believer. The righteous man with the righteous mission. The one that jails people for reading and burns the books. That persecutes people who do exercises the wrong way. That dumps out the medicine and pisses on it. That pushes the button that sends the drones to drop the bombs. And hides behind a bunker and doesn't get hurt. Shielded by God. Or the state. Or whatever lie he uses to hide his envy and self-interest and cowardice and lust ...more
Jan 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Sutty is a Terran envoy of the Ekumen to the world of Aka. The Aka have suppressed and criminalized their ancient “religion” (it isn’t, but that’s the most expedient way to describe it. Think Buddhist.) in order to become Consumer-Producers of the Corporation State and bring their technology up to date with that of Earth and Hain. Sutty’s mission is to learn and preserve The Telling, which is made difficult by the Monitors of the Corporation State (thought police).
I feel like LeGuin conceived of
Danni Green
Mar 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spaaaaaace
I've struggled through a few other of LeGuin's books and was debating whether I wanted to try to read any more of them. A friend of mine who is really into LeGuin recommended that I read this one, telling me that if I liked this one then I would probably like other books of hers, and that if I didn't, I should give it up. Well, my friend is very wise, and I liked this book a lot. The story has many layers, and each layer shone through with a richness that made it a very enjoyable read, emotional ...more
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Does the midbook infodump ever end? 6 26 Feb 16, 2013 08:37PM  
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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)
  • City of Illusions
  • The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle #4)
  • The Word for World is Forest
  • The Dispossessed (Hainish Cycle #6)
“Belief is the wound that knowledge heals.” 255 likes
“To learn a belief without the belief is to sing a song without the tune.” 37 likes
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