Ursula K. LeGuin discussion

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Other LeGuin You Probably Haven't Read

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message 1: by Patrick (last edited Feb 19, 2010 08:22PM) (new)

Patrick Sutton (suttondesign) Worlds of Exile and Illusion -- Three Short Novels.
The Beginning Place -- a sort of young adult novel sort of.
I've been reading and re-reading LeGuin's books since I was 10 or 11 years old. As a writer, I go back to her constantly to force myself to simplify my sentence structures and chisel my descriptions. In the books above, there is a spare, almost "style-free" simplicity in the manner of storytelling but an almost fathomless emotional depth. It's almost as if she's leaving spaces for contemplation in her writing, pauses that give you space to take things in.
I loaned out my Worlds of Exile and never got it back -- I need to get another copy. I recently bought a shiny new copy of The Beginning Place and can report that it is as special to me now as it was when I was about 14 or so and read it for the first time. Every time I walk from my urban homestead through the wooded acreage just across the way, I re-enter the world of that book. Just as its characters enter another world through an innocuous wooded portal, I imagine the same -- and wish I could write the same kind of story. I swear, one day I'm going to try.


message 2: by Meredith (new)

Meredith | 4 comments Always Coming Home. I've heard this book described as anarchy and earth-centered local economies in practice.


message 3: by Chris (last edited Oct 30, 2011 05:36AM) (new)

Chris (calmgrove) it's over a year since anyone posted here, so I would like to nominate her Annals of the Western Shore sequence as an opportunity for Earthsea fans to get their fix of fantasy. Gifts Annals of the Western Shore 1 is a little slow and parochial for some readers, but I found it a thoughtful novel; the sequels Voices Annals of the Western Shore 2 and Powers Annals of the Western Shore 3 are likewise very reflective, with less action than some may like, but I also found these thought-provoking.

The thing about Worlds of Exile and Illusion, as with so many of Le Guin's novels, is that they shine a light on our own preconceptions and foibles, albeit that they are set on other worlds. Their images haunt me still and I'm looking forward to re-reading them in the not-too-distant future.


message 4: by Chris (new)

Chris (calmgrove) Anybody out there? ...


message 5: by Rick (last edited Jul 08, 2012 12:12PM) (new)

Rick I've read The Beginning Place years ago and enjoyed it and I just picked up Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Rocannon's World/Planet of Exile/City of Illusions but haven't had a chance to read it yet, same with the books in the Annals of the Western Shore series. Two of my all time favorite books through are The Dispossessed: An Ambiguous Utopia and The Lathe of Heaven.


message 6: by Jane (new)

Jane | 2 comments I've just finished Orsinian Tales. Very different in tone to Earthsea and Annals of the Western shore, but reminiscent of The Beginning Place. I don't know whether she ever visited Cold War Mittel Europe but if it wasn't like that, it should have been. She's a brilliant writer and knocks spots off most more modern fantasy writers.


message 7: by Rick (new)

Rick I finished Worlds of Exile and Illusion: Rocannon's World, Planet of Exile, City of Illusions and I really enjoyed it. I think the second book, Planet of Exile, was my favorite of the three but it's actually hard to say as I enjoyed them all.

I'm reading a wonderful little book now, Conversations with Ursula K. Le Guin, that is a complication of many interviews with Le Guin over many years. Fascinating insights into her thoughts and process.


message 8: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 6 comments The Library of America has announced that they are going to publish Always Coming Home: Author's Expanded Edition in February of 2019. I haven't heard the novel yet, but I thought you all might be interested. The LOA introduced me to Le Guin when they published the Hainish novels and stories in a boxed set, and I loved it, so I will probably check out Always Coming Home when they release it.


message 9: by Jo (new)

Jo | 3 comments I think you will like Always Coming Home, too. It's pretty appropriate to our current political situation.


message 10: by Brandon (new)

Brandon | 6 comments I'm looking forward to it. Like I mentioned above, I have only read the Hainish novels and stories so far. I only began reading Le Guin sometime last year, but I have been so impressed with her work that I feel as if I will probably try to read anything by her that I can get my hands on. Always Coming Home sounds pretty interesting, and I still have yet to check out the Earthsea stuff as well (I know that probably doesn't qualify as "Other Le Guin you probably haven't read).


message 11: by Fran (new)

Fran | 2 comments Patrick wrote: "Worlds of Exile and Illusion -- Three Short Novels.
The Beginning Place -- a sort of young adult novel sort of.
I've been reading and re-reading LeGuin's books since I was 10 or 11 years old. As a..."


The Beginning Place is one of my favorites. It's so deceptively simple, yet so beautiful. Each time I read it I find some new meaning, a new image that offer a new angle to this wonderful little story.


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