- Series: Hainish Cycle
- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (June 10, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 006051275X
- ISBN-13: 978-0060512750
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 377 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,368 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Dispossessed: A Novel (Hainish Cycle) Paperback – June 10, 2014
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“This novel, by a celebrated Hungarian poet, depicts the world of his childhood…The narrator, a young boy whose family is shunned-it was once wealthy and is suspected of being Jewish-endures beatings, hunger, and taunts with the fatalism of someone who has never known anything else.” (New Yorker)
From the Back Cover
A bleak moon settled by utopian anarchists, Anarres has long been isolated from other worlds, including its mother planet, Urras—a civilization of warring nations, great poverty, and immense wealth. Now Shevek, a brilliant physicist, is determined to reunite the two planets, which have been divided by centuries of distrust. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have kept them apart.
To visit Urras—to learn, to teach, to share—will require great sacrifice and risks, which Shevek willingly accepts. But the ambitious scientist's gift is soon seen as a threat, and in the profound conflict that ensues, he must reexamine his beliefs even as he ignites the fires of change.
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This book is a must read. It also includes an english professor's reading guide at 94% that includes a brief synopsis of the social situation at the time the novel was written to help explain why the author wrote the book the way she did and then poses thought provoking questions about each chapter. I suggest that you read this guide first and then read each chapter and try to answer the questions in the reading guide and repeat until you have completed the novel. Reading the book in this way will be a far more moving and enjoyable experience.
This book chronicles the related people of twin planets, one previously colonized by settlers from the other. The narrative vividly contrasts various types of social organization and behavior, including freedom (and the lack of it), government (and the lack of it), mutual cooperation and competition, and so forth. While the differences seem stark at first, the subtleties become more apparent as more is revealed. It not only entertains but forces the reader to think about alternate ways of living that have been dismissed or not considered before.
The story is delivered mostly from the view of the protagonist, from two different periods in his life. The movement back and forth from his earlier life to his later life helps with a deeper understanding of the intricacies of the tale. The timelines come together eventually, of course, but the beauty of the book is in the wholeness of the telling.
The author occasionally creates words, or at least they appear to be created as they are new to me and not in dictionaries or wikipedia, but these created words have meanings that are obvious. They add to the beautiful fabric of the chronicle.
I never thought I'd say this about one of her novels or stories.
One of my favorite novels of any genre. Tackles all the right questions. Challenges all political schools of thought, institutions of science, morality, industry. Does so fairly and develops compelling characters. Finds meaning in the meaningless suffering, on the level of a Dostoyevsky novel, compares favorably to The Idiot especially. A powerful message without ever preaching. Especially if you're interested in physics, this is a great book to read. If you're new to science fiction or have no interest in physics, this is a great place to start, being one of the most underrated classics.
The book jacket summarizes the story well. This Ursula Le Guin novel is a tale of a utopian society, and the characters that struggle to keep it a utopia. It is a multi-layered novel. I think readers have and will get different messages depending on their circumstances. Its story is certainly relevant to what's occurring in politics today. Highly recommended.