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Publisher's Summary

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.

Critic Reviews

  • Locus Award, Best Novel, 2001

"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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Steph
  • MARION, MA USA
  • 05-24-13

Le Guin at her best!

What did you love best about The Telling?

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.<br/><br/>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.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Tell me about it!

If you could sum up The Telling in three words, what would they be?

Don't toss traditions

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Telling?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

no

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Just Beautiful. Just Brilliant.

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.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Beautiful, Poetic, Moving!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

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!

What did you like best about this story?

visiting another world.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Gr
  • 02-02-14

Tough read

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.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Enlightening

What made the experience of listening to The Telling the most enjoyable?

This story put words to how I feel about religion.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Telling?

When she tells her story to the monitor.

Which scene was your favorite?

I loved the first time she goes to the fertilizer, with all the script on the wallsl

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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A cautionary tale

What's it like to live in the Corporate State? This sounds very accurate and since we are near to being just that (Citizen's United was a big step in that direction) everyone should look at the possibility. Le Guin is a master and Zackman reads very well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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An OK, but not top-form Le Guin

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.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Katherine
  • St. Johns, FL, United States
  • 02-27-14

disappointingly dull

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.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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Truly spectacular

This book is an ideal book for folks who love the opportunity to reflect on our current society through the lens of sci if. The subjects of translation and meaning across culture, across power difference, the power and risk of knowledge, the worship of technology, all these themes and more were beautifully written and engaged in this book. And the rich tapestry of another world was written so beautifully. Thank you Ursula leguin. You are a gift to literature.

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  • Kristin
  • 11-09-16

Sci-fi with feeling

An emotional and heartfelt story about the power of love and stories. Le Guin explores how trauma can warp a world view by exploring two societies through the eyes of a protagonist who is meant to be impartial, but can't quite divorce her observations from her own experience.