The Left Hand of Darkness

The Left Hand of Darkness

Book Club Kit - 2003
Average Rating:
26
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Kidnapped by a thunderstorm and deposited in an everchanging, unstable world, two teenage girls become caught in a battle for supremacy between rival sorcerers.
Publisher: New York : Ace Books, 2003
Edition: Ace mass-market ed., 50th anniversary ed.
ISBN: 9780441478125
0441478123
Branch Call Number: PS3562.E42 L39 2003
SCI LEGUI-U
Characteristics: 10 books (304 p. ; 18 cm.) + 1 binder, in bin (18 x 41 x 28 cm.)

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p
pridi_o
Apr 16, 2018

Incredible book. Deep and beautiful, moving and thought provoking, full of connections and meaning.

DBRL_IdaF Mar 12, 2018

One of the few books I would put on my personal list as transformational. I first read it as a teen, and it gave me a whole new way to look at my own life and world. It did for me the best thing a book can do - broadened my mind.

Le Guin achieves a significant feat, creating a world without gender politics, but still a lot of political intrigue.

BostonPL_LauraB Feb 06, 2018

My book club was discussing this book last night just as the news broke of her passing away. I feel a bit guilty about giving it a low rating, but I was mostly just really bored/confused by this book. I think I'm just not a SF person. I would still be interested to try Wizard of Earthsea - fantasy is more up my alley.

BostonPL_AnnaD Jan 23, 2018

This book always gets me in the end. I’m not sure what to say about it. Most of this, until about the second half, is not something I would normally read. Yet, I’ve enjoyed it twice now.

Le Guin calls the Genethians androgynous, though I think I see them more as intersex, and somewhat similar to the Wraeththu of Storm Constantine’s books of the same name.

n
Nyadenya
Jan 03, 2018

Ursula K. Le Guin-native to California-earned her master's degree at Columbia University. I empathize with Ms. Le Guin's passion; simply for sitting in a chair and posing, for a head-shot, with a library of books in the backdrop. My favorite shot, (the only one I have seen of Ms. Leguin) includes her sitting in a studio and reading a good book. In, The Left Hand of Darkness, PZ4.L518 Le 1980 (JP 9/85) one can read the Latin Phrase- "sine quo non"-which reads in English: I translate to mean: " where without which nothing". My favorite, " Save the Cat" moment is found on page 12 of Ms. Ursula's, non-explorative-book-I stress the non-explorative nature of this book-in the passage Ursula writes: " Oh God yes. I didn't mean that." she continues "Well, I'll say less to the king than I intended to say, when I could count on you." The protagonist is written, to say the above because-and I Nyadenya quote-"I had no experiential feel for privilege-no tact".

d
danielestes
Dec 21, 2017

Ehh... it's okay. There's a lot of thick prose and 'heavy ideas' to chew on. The language has a rhythm to it, which I like, but I couldn't connect with the story. Or the characters.

u
uncommonreader
Nov 14, 2017

Published in 1969, this was Le Guin's breakthrough novel. The themes she explores - gender, power, patriotism - remain relevant and raise interesting questions. A thoughtful book.

a
aimiller
Aug 06, 2017

So I have to say this upfront: I read Ancillary Justice before I read this book, and I think in some ways that was a mistake. I couldn't stop comparing the two, and finding the former better than the latter, both in plot and the ways that the Gender Thing was handled.

And boy that gender thing. I understand this was probably super revolutionary when it was published, but it's so tied up in Earth conceptions of gender and sex without doing much that feels super important? Like for all that the Gethenians are supposed to be without sex or gender, this book still felt super heavily gendered and in a kind of unquestioned way. (Again, here is where my biggest comparison to Ancillary Justice really takes root; this book didn't challenge my sense of gender, or the way that I understand and see gender in my own world at all, and certainly not to the degree that Ancillary Justice did.) The anthropological portions of the book made me feel kinda gross, like the attempts to "understand" this system, or document its differences, were part of a major mistranslation problem that was never really corrected in the book.

The plot itself was fine? I really enjoyed Estraven as a character and would have liked to see more about him. The ending felt like very very rushed, and parsing it was a little difficult because of that. This is a book that to me seems to scream sequel--for the purposes of exploring a larger world--and the fact that we don't have one is a little disappointing and adds to the sense of being unfinished in some ways.

I didn't hate this book, but I was definitely disappointed by it--it does make me want to return to the Imperial Radch series, so I can experience that world again!

b
becker
Jul 21, 2017

This won't be for everyone. It can be a bit dry and mundane in places but then turn around and be brilliant. I would say I appreciated this book, more than enjoyed it. I happen to love Ursula Le Guin, both as a person and a writer so I was very patient with this book and feel I got a lot out of it. It's very thought provoking and has some fantastic quotes.

profdavis Jul 07, 2017

After Dune, the frozen world of Gethen is probably the most fully realized alien world in Science Fiction. The planet itself is interesting, but the fascinating thing are the gender neutral Gethenians and their byzantine politics.

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