The Dispossessed - Ursula K. Le Guin

[Originally posted on tumblr on 8. April 2013]


After battling with the way this book was printed which is in a way that makes it hard to read for people like me who have nerve problems in their arms*, I finally finished ‘The Dispossessed' by Ursula K. Le Guin. (In case you wonder which edition I'm talking about: Harper Voyager, paperback, this one.)

I admit I have not much of an experience with science fiction. I really liked this book though, especially the order of the chapters. At first I thought this was a clever trick to make it a more interesting experience for the reader but then I thought this probably also had something to do with the main characters theory about travelling at the speed of light. I don’t really want to go into the details about this one since I guess it would spoil the story a little bit. Then again, I bet a lot of people already read this book and I’m making a fool of myself right now for joining the party so late.

Also, since I didn’t read so many science fiction books before this is also my first book that actually features an utopia, rather than a dystopia. Though it’s easy to be deceived at first when it comes to Anarres the ‘planet’ the main character comes from you soon figure out the problems the society faces there. (Anarres is actually the moon of Urras.)

A thing that also amazes me are the feminist themes in this book. Unfortuantely I don’t know about feminism through the years since this book was published in 1974. All I can say is that unfortunately not much has changed. Actually, the issues in this book are also present in today’s society. There’s more than one scene in which the main character adresses this directly. I think this is one that impressed me a lot:

Shevek (the main character) talks to Vea, an Urrasti woman, about the way men treat her. Then he says that she’s dangerous, upon her asking why he thinks her to be dangerous he says:

"Why, because you know that in the eyes of men you are a thing, a thing owned, bought, sold. And so you think only of tricking the owners, of getting revenge."

Another thing I really liked:

"Pravic was not a good swearing language. It is hard to swear when sex is not dirty and blasphemy does not exist."

Since I feel not educated enough to talk more about this book I should probably stop now. Let’s just say it’s a very interesting book which left me with quite a heartache - yet again! Le Guin has a certain way to end her books and they mostly end with people walking into the sunset and by that I mean you don’t know what happens to them. Yelp.

*In case you wonder what the problem was: It’s really hard to keep this book open without damaging the spine. Unfortunately I opened it too much early on. Ugh.