Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Word for World is Forest Paperback – July 6, 2010
|New from||Used from|
Top 20 lists in Books
View the top 20 best sellers of all time, the most reviewed books of all time and some of our editors' favorite picks. Learn more
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
“Le Guin writes in quiet, straightforward sentences about people who feel they are being torn apart by massive forces in society― technological, political, economic―and who fight courageously to remain whole.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Le Guin writes with painstaking intelligence. Her characters are complex and haunting, and her writing is remarkable for its sinewy grace.” ―Time
“Like all great writers of fiction, Ursula K. L e Guin creates imaginary worlds that restore us, hearts eased, to our own.” ―The Boston Globe
About the Author
Ursula K. Le Guin is the author of more than three dozen books for children and adults. She was awarded a Newbury Honor for the second volume of the Earthsea Cycle, The Tombs of Atuan. Among her many other distinctions are the Margaret A. Edwards Award, a National Book Award, and five Nebula Awards. She lives in Portland, Oregon.
More About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Despite its seemingly formulaic premise, "The Word for World is Forest" is a thought-provoking and somewhat disturbing short novel written in Le Guin's usual poetic prose.Read more ›
It doesn't help that the Athsheans embody just about every romanticized stereotype of the native primitive. Like the most Disneyfied take on Native Americans, they live amongst the trees, perfectly in balance with nature. They're deeply spiritual, with a strong, aboriginal-like connection to the dream time. And, in the book's most groan-inducing conceit, they're completely peaceful, never having even conceived of murder until it's introduced to them by humans.
The humans, on the other hand, exemplify the worst habits of colonialism to a degree that strains believability. Despite the fact that the Athsheans have learned English, only one scientist, Lyubov, sees them as intelligent beings with a worthwhile culture. The rest of the colonists treat them with disdain and virulent racism, casually beating, enslaving, and raping them (or turning a blind, indifferent eye to those who do). This never quite makes sense; the humans complain that the Athsheans aren't any good as slaves (or anything else that they use them for), and the Athsheans themselves would happily avoid the humans if left to their own devices. The humans seem to be enslaving the Athsheans purely out of spite.
As polarized as the characters' views are, Le Guin does a skillful job of getting inside the head of each. Still, though she fleshes them out well and makes them believable characters, they're not particularly engaging or likable.Read more ›
Unfortunately, I think Le Guin picked a title that prompts ordinary folk to go: huh? "The Word for World Is Forest," however, is a Le Guin masterpiece. It is charged with the best in her, the energy of her earlier days.
At her worst, Le Guin's writing can be pedantic and sleep-inducing. Yet she has written so much that is excellent that I cannot help but have a great deal of respect for her. This novel is one of the quickest jolts of science fiction fun that I have yet to experience. It moves swiftly, and its meaning stays with you for a long time.
* * *
Eleven years later, let me add: much of her newer stuff is great too. I just read some of the stories in The Birthday of the World. Wow. I need to read more. She'll always be one of my all-time favorites.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Ursula Le Guin is a more than fabulous author. Her writing is absolutely beautiful and her story lines are unique. Read morePublished 1 day ago by Talor
The Terran colony of New Tahiti was sent out with the mission to harvest lumber for a deforested earth; due to that time dilation, communication between the colony and Earth takes... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chris
I started reading this book and stopped a little less than halfway through because it's INCREDIBLY depressingly, dark. Trigger warning should be the title of this book. Read morePublished 2 months ago by J. Randolph
Le Guin is as always an excellent story teller. One of the best 20th century English language writers.Published 3 months ago by Gabi
Easy to predict, fairly straightforward plot with common themes but Le Guin is a master at evoking emotions. Read morePublished 3 months ago by H. Fisher
A timely forty year old work. Eco-revolutionary tale about reeling in progress and technology.Published 4 months ago by Martin3369
Another great story in the Hainish Cycle. It is great to experience ULK's interpretation of this classic idea(I would share more, but don't wish to spoil).Published 4 months ago by Marrisa
Interesting book. It shows how ugly people really are and how even at our most modern stage we show descrimination and prejudice. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Nathan