©2008 Ursula K. Le Guin; (P)2008 Recorded Books
"... masterful" (Publishers Weekly, starred review)
I found this book to be wonderful in three ways. While the story is well trodden territory, the author continuously weaves it with fascinating and well thought out insights and commentary from the narrator. The narrator herself is a wonderful contraption, occupying a unique space between first-person and third-person. Finally, the writing itself is a joy to listen to. The author has clearly put thought into simplicity and elegance of phrasing.
The only down-side I found in this book is that the last half of the book is not as strong as the first. However, the book only slacks off from "excellent" to "very good."
The reader does the book justice. She speaks clearly, at a good pace, and with an appropriate amount of intonation and acting.
I loved this recording of Ursula Le Guin's beautiful novel so much that I listened to it all over again as soon as I'd heard it through the first time. The language is sparse and clear, and the narrator's voice is perfectly suited to it. Le Guin's exploration of what piety means in action is fascinating, and her exploration of gender roles is a nuanced as ever. Hoorah!
Literature teacher and sci-fi/fantasy fan
Let me begin by saying that LeGuin is at her best when she is creating a new culture by looking at it anthropologically. For example, she shines in her Earthsea novels and the science fiction novels like THE LEFT HAND OF DARKNESS. In this novel, she has a society that she understands fully -- but it is already historically realized. I felt her creativity was limited with what I think she does best -- her expertise on culture and people. However, her insight into people comes through in the impeccable characterization in this novel.
Bresnahan does a fine job with the text. Not my favorite by LeGuin, but a nobel effort.
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