Sara's Reviews > The Lathe of Heaven

The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula K. Le Guin
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Closer to 4.5 out of 5. Still, this is UKLG we're talking about here. :)

Imagine that your dreams had the ability to alter reality. To change not only the present, but also the past and (effectively) the future. And every time you dreamed, you might wake up to a new home, a different job, a changed city, and possibly erase the existence of people you'd known, including loved ones.

Then imagine being so frightened by your ability that you start seeing a psychiatrist - and he, upon realizing your "powers," uses you to manipulate the world to his liking.

That premise didn't just draw me into Ursula K. Le Guin's THE LATHE OF HEAVEN. Instead, it reeled me in and let me dangle in the wonder, terror, and sheer inventiveness of the story. It did take some time to fall into LATHE's rhythm; there are a fair number of long paragraphs of scientific explanations and other details, both in the dialogue and in the narrative. But once I did, I was utterly absorbed in its shifting landscapes and histories, the hard-to-believe truths and cleverly disguised lies, and George's struggle to find a way to simply fall asleep knowing that he hadn't subconsciously tinkered with the world. And the more that his psychiatrist, Dr. Haber, toyed with George's abilities with every therapy session, the more difficult it became to put this book down.

Admittedly LATHE is a bit dated now (it was first published in 1971, with the story set in 2002). But I found it easy enough to re-imagine George's futuristic Portland, Oregon with a 2017 basis. The themes, though, are the real blood and marrow of this book, because they're still relevant today. Humanity's self-destructive behavior, the delicate nature of the patient-doctor relationship, our dependence on medication, and the perils of power... And since it's a UKLG book, I knew I could count on the wisdom, wit, and lyricality that's always present in her writing. Have I said before that I love Ursula's prose? Because I do. And in THE LATHE OF HEAVEN, it gives the conflicts more weight, her insights more depth, and her small cast of characters more complexity.

I think THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS has finally found competition for the title of My Favorite Science Fiction Book by UKLG. :)
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Quotes Sara Liked

Ursula K. Le Guin
“Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven

Reading Progress

October 5, 2014 – Shelved
October 5, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 10, 2017 – Started Reading
September 10, 2017 –
page 112
60.87% "I had another book in mind to read next. But since I was in Boston yesterday, I opted for a paperback that was easy to fit in my pocketbook. ;)

And now that I'm seeing the premise in action... Holy crap, it's frightening."
September 11, 2017 –
page 150
81.52% "As much as I love UKLG's work, there are times in this book when paragraphs go on for close to or more than one page. It's hard to maintain interest in a single block of text for that long. :S

That being said, I'm really enjoying this story."
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: 2017-favorites
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: all-time-favorites
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: classics
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: eyeopeners
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: male-protagonists
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: multiple-povs
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: prose-love
September 12, 2017 – Shelved as: science-fiction
September 12, 2017 – Finished Reading

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