Once a culturally rich world, the planet Aka has been utterly transformed by technology. Records of the past have been destroyed, and citizens are strictly monitored. But an official observer from Earth will discover a group of outcasts who still practice its lost religion - the Telling.
Intrigued by their beliefs, she joins them on a sacred pilgrimage into the mountains...and into the dangerous terrain of her own heart, mind, and soul.
©2003 Ursula K. Le Guin; (P)2009 Audible, Inc.
"In this virtually flawless new tale set in her Hainish universe, Le Guin...sends a young woman from Earth on her first mission, to the planet Aka as an Observer for the Ekumen....This is a novel that aficionados of morally serious SF won't want to miss." (Publishers Weekly)
"Gabra Zackman's steady and grounded narration lays the foundation...." (AudioFile)
Keep your mind active.
I am a long time Le Guin fan. The Telling is a very slow introspective examination of a society and culture through the eyes of a visitor from earth. There is very little action and with the exception of the main character, the listener really does not get to know the other characters in the book very well. The text concentrates on an examination of a planets society that has been perverted by exposure to off world technology and has turned technological progress into a religion of sorts, repressing the worlds native history and culture. Typical to Le Guin, her writing is fluid and poetic. I thought this story was wonderfully narrated. In the end, I struggled to get through this book. It never captured my full attention and I found myself wishing for something to happen or for the plot to move forward. I am hesitant to recommend it.
While involving the reader in an intriguing tale of a woman discovering herself on a strange world the main character discovers that stories are much more important than she ever realized. They impact both for her own past and the history of the planet she has come to.
Among the upper crust of Sci-Fi authors, Ursula K Le Guin lives up to her reputation in this book as she wraps you in multiple layers of intrigue, politics, religion and emotion.
Don't toss traditions
When the heroine and her nemesis realize their childhood experiences caused them both to reject their peoples' traditional values, and to rethink those decisions. The realization that life is not black or white, but many shades of gray.
Ms. LeGuin uses the english language with the same flare as Sandberg, or Twain. She paints landscapes and portraits with her words, creating people and places you can actually care about, while sharing their lives and adventures. Storyteller, Wordsmith, Poet, a truley gifted artist!
visiting another world.
I know Le Guin likes to subvert hero-quest style stories these days, and that's fine. I like Le Guin best when, despite subverting that narrative style, the story manages to find its own kind of narrative momentum, and to surprise me. This book, despite (because of?) being *about* narrative, never really managed to do that for me. Being light on revelation and plot, more like an anthropological treatise, but with a less-than-usually plausible treatment of the society it explores, this book left me cold. There were some pretty moments (nice depiction of generic Abrahamic fundamentalism as Earth's global response to ecosocial crisis), but, after that... hmm. I put it this way: If the Left Hand Of Darkness or The Dispossessed were *massages*, they would be good, deep-tissue massages after a nice long sauna. The Telling is more that kind of massage you get from an awkward stranger where they brush your hands lightly over your back, but are too shy to really get in there.
The reader adopts a kind of depressed, shrinking style throughout; I'm not sure if that's a deficiency or not. It's certainly in keeping with the mood of the book, so I'm not sure whether to count it as a deficiency or not.
I'm a bibliophile since early childhood. Love speculative fiction, odd premises, mystery novels that teach about different places and times.
This may be the best Ursula K I've read since the Left Hand of Darkness. Beautifully written, incredible characters and a lovely transformation. Treat yourself. This is a marvel.
This story put words to how I feel about religion.
When she tells her story to the monitor.
I loved the first time she goes to the fertilizer, with all the script on the wallsl
I'm the managing editor of the Fantasy Literature blog. Life's too short to read bad books!
As always, Le Guin’s language is beautiful, but The Telling has a heavy-handed Message and it's plotless. If this had been written decades ago, it might have had more meaning, but for a book written in 2000, it’s disappointingly dull.
A thought provoking and highly satisfying tale. Good SF is escapist and entertaining; great SF is enriching as well. The Telling changed the way i think about the world, filling my head with the joy of a new perspective, making the commonplace new.
I have read this book twice before and loved it. Gabra Zackman had the perfect voice, cadence, and pace for narration so it was great to listen to The Telling for a change. Other reviewers may have their take on this book, but from my perspective it manages to say much about the value of traditional cultures which can be missed in the rush to modernize. LeGuinn lays out this global and historical conflict with such a sparse economy of words, even handedness, and deeply human poetry that it takes my breath away.
I love the ending. I grabbed my book after listening to the end and re-read it twice. It made me cry again and again.
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