The Telling

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Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Sep 11, 2000 - Fiction - 272 pages
5 Reviews
The Left Hand of DarknessSutty, an Observer from Earth for the interstellar Ekumen, has been assigned to a new world-a world in the grips of a stern monolithic state, the Corporation. Embracing the sophisticated technology brought by other worlds and desiring to advance even faster into the future, the Akans recently outlawed the past, the old calligraphy, certain words, all ancient beliefs and ways; every citizen must now be a producer-consumer. Their state, not unlike the China of the Cultural Revolution, is one of secular terrorism. Traveling from city to small town, from loudspeakers to bleating cattle, Sutty discovers the remnants of a banned religion, a hidden culture. As she moves deeper into the countryside and the desolate mountains, she learns more about the Telling-the old faith of the Akans-and more about herself. With her intricate creation of an alien world, Ursula K. Le Guin compels us to reflect on our own recent history.
 

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The telling

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As a member of the Ekumen's embassy on the planet Aka, Sutty undertakes a delicate mission that leads her to a mountain village reported to contain the last remnants of a dying culture. Following a ... Read full review

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I re-read this book every few years, and it changes my life in new ways each time. It is about finding and preserving our humanity in oppressive societies. The depth and nuance of the main character allow her to explore these big issues in a way that is real, personal, and not too 'preachy'.
I particularly love this book for having a gay main character who does more than just be gay. Don't get me wrong, I love a good coming out story, but we can do other things too- like working as anthropologists studying banned religions, and challenging authoritarian governments on two planets!
 

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About the author (2000)

Ursula K. Le Guin was born in Berkeley, California, in 1929. Over the course of her career she has published more than sixty books of fiction, fantasy, science fiction, children’s literature, poetry, drama, criticism, and translation, and is the multiple winner of the highest awards in several fields. Among her honors are a National Book Award, a PEN/Malamud Award for short fiction, five Hugo and five Nebula Awards, twenty-one Locus Awards, the Kafka Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. She lives in Portland, Oregon, with her husband.

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