Regular price: $34.22

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
OR
In Cart

Publisher's Summary

Shevek, a brilliant physicist, decides to take action. He will seek answers, question the unquestionable, and attempt to tear down the walls of hatred that have isolated his planet of anarchists from the rest of the civilized universe. To do this dangerous task will mean giving up his family and possibly his life. Shevek must make the unprecedented journey to the utopian mother planet, Anarres, to challenge the complex structures of life and living, and ignite the fires of change.

©1974 Ursula K. Le Guin (P)2010 HarperCollins Publishers

Critic Reviews

  • Hugo Award, Best Novel, 1975
  • Nebula Award, Best Novel, 1974

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    918
  • 4 Stars
    423
  • 3 Stars
    204
  • 2 Stars
    89
  • 1 Stars
    30

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    812
  • 4 Stars
    454
  • 3 Stars
    164
  • 2 Stars
    31
  • 1 Stars
    21

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    844
  • 4 Stars
    334
  • 3 Stars
    187
  • 2 Stars
    87
  • 1 Stars
    36
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Isaac
  • Coquitlam, BC, Canada
  • 10-09-10

One of my favorite novels of all time

Some readers and critics have suggested that Le Guin is "promoting" anarchism/communism; this is too simplistic, since the book is far too subtle and tentative to work as propaganda. Instead, she posits an attractive and idealistic society, contrasts it with a world with an appealing facade and an unattractive underclass, and shows how human nature tends to corrupt even the most well-meaning of civilizations. A book of ideas rather than of advocacy, "The Dispossessed" challenges readers to envision humankind's limitless possibilities.

75 of 77 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Better suited for traditional reading

I think I'm going to have to give this book another shot, old school style. I vaguely enjoyed the story, but had trouble paying full attention with the narrator's calming voice. I felt that when it switched between past/present there should have been a more pronounced change in the narrator's tone perhaps. I'm not sure...
Exploring the ideas of anarcho-communism is intriguing, and I think Le Guin does a good job of showcasing some of the benefits, requirements, and ultimate struggles that such a society entails. Again, I think to truly get this book I would like to read it normally, or at least listen again in one setting when I can pay closer attention.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • thomas
  • charlotte, NC, United States
  • 04-29-13

I Thoroughly Enjoyed It.

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

Great production of a great scientific fiction classic. The narrator went back and forth between characters with ease. He also highlighted the gravity of the writing, which is spectacular in a clear and simple manner.

Who was your favorite character and why?

Shevek has to be one of the most compelling characters I have every read. I didn't always like him but he served as a touchstone for the ideas and concepts in the book from economics, to the Sapir Whor hypothesis, moral and ethics and physics. A very compelling and thought provoking character.

Which scene was your favorite?

The scenes of Shevek as a young man were interesting, I couldn't help thinking of Catcher in the Rye at times. I also wondered how powerful this might have been to read this book as a younger man.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The scenes of Shevek with his family were very moving. As a fan of traditional or hard science fiction I typically don't get into more relationship driven stores, but this was an exception. These scenes were a stark contrast to the modern lifestyle of constant entertainment that many of us find ourselves dependent on for fun. It really made you re-evaluate how you decide to spend your time. It was something I did not expect of the novel and I found it fascinating, a real meditation on modern life.

Any additional comments?

I think it would be too easy to dismiss this story as "anti-Ayn Rand" or "socialist", its really more multi layered than that...If you can be open to a story that will make you rethink social, political, moral, ethical and existential ideas you would truly enjoy the novel. The book is not written in black and while tones, there are critiques and nuances to all the social and political structures that make it incredibly well written.

My only disappointment is that The Left Hand of Darkness is not on Audible, which makes more insight into LeGuins "Hannish Cycle" not complete.

I am really glad I listened/read this novel.

25 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 06-17-14

The ^HIGH^ orbit of what SF can do

le Guin's 'The Dispossessed' represents the high orbit of what SF can do. Science Fiction is best, most lasting, most literate, when it is using its conventional form(s) to explore not space but us. When the vehicle of SF is used to ask big questions that are easier bent with binary planets, with grand theories of time and space, etc., we are able to better understand both the limits and the horizons of our species.

The great SF writers (Asimov, Vonnegut, Heinlein, Dick, Bradbury, etc) have been able to explore political, economic, social, and cultural questions/possibilities using the future, time, and the wide-openness of space. Ursula K. Le Guin belongs firmly in the pantheon of great social SF writers. She will be read far into the future -- not because her writing reflects the future, but because it captures the now so perfectly.

41 of 48 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Scott S
  • GEORGETOWN, TX, US
  • 09-13-16

OK story but odd storytelling at times

The draw is the description of the framework of the anarchist society, but this is sometimes thoughtful and sometimes incomplete. Storytelling is a long chain of sometimes laborious conversation with occasional brilliant descriptive writing. Frequently jolts the reader out of immersion with a not chronological flow, jumping around for no obvious reason. There is almost a philosophical science interest but in the end it is never really fleshed out. Worth reading due to award status, but not a sci fi classic.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Peregrine
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 04-23-12

Great story, philosophical and poignant

One of the 2 best adult sci-fi titles Le Guin has given us; I was very happy to re-read it (after about 30 years) when it came to Audible finally. It's a meditation on human nature, disguised as commentary on the Cold War. At first it seems as if she's idealizing socialist society, but she does an excellent job critiquing it, with an almost Randian notion of egalitarianism suffocating human ingenuity. I finished it yesterday and I'm still chewing it over.

The reader is fine, a little slow and I used the audible app's 1.5x speed feature sometimes.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Story stalls as political overview dominates

Strong perceptions on various governing structures, but the story is nearly non-existent. Overall, it was boring.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Philip
  • Thousand Oaks, CA, United States
  • 08-15-16

The Unimpressed

Perhaps this material seemed fresh and exciting 42 years ago when the novel was busy winning every SciFi award in sight - but I didn't think the subject matter was all that interesting nor the characters very appealing. It didn't help that the narrator's voice kept putting me to sleep.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Fascinating, but odd

Had to read this for a class I'm taking, I'm glad I did, but it was a very unique book, not sure what I expected but it was a satisfying experience

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Well, that was quite the mind-full!

I think I'm going to have to go back and read this one with my eyeballs rather than my ears. It's a lot easier to stop and mull things over when you're reading, as opposed to listening, and there were quite a few times that I felt I was rushed through the moment by the audio. Also, the first "flashback" (for want of a better term) was rather jarring and I spent a few minutes trying to work out if there had been some malfunction with the audio player/file.

Medium aside, this was a very interesting book on several levels. It's the story of a man (Shevek) from the anarchist planet of Anarres and follows his early and middle years (in an interleaved fashion) describing life on both Anarres and, to some extent, the nearby Urras - both planets of the star Tau Ceti. There's a relatively objective view of both the vast anarchistic commune that is Anarres as well as the major capitalist/socialist countries (in what appears to be a rather blatant mirroring of Earth). The story includes plenty of the nitty-gritty details of running Anarres by the generally pacifist-anarchists, and how humans are generally likely to mess up a "perfect" political situation with their inevitable desire for personal power. Overlaid is Shevek's tale, usually told from his perspective and, since he's a physicist, he often brings a very clinical logic to bear on his everyday life that leads to a number of thought-provoking insights.

Story aside, the writing was extremely enjoyable, if not beautiful. It felt a little wordy at times, like it needed one more round of culling to make it perfect.

The version I listened to was beautifully read by Don Leslie and had no annoying audio additions to get in the way of the book.

9 of 12 people found this review helpful