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As she travels deeper into the countryside, she learns about the Telling, the old faith of the Akans, which has been banned. As with all of Le Guin's works, The Telling is a thoughtful reflection of the struggles and joys of our own world wrapped up in a great story. It will be nice to see her in a different kind of role. Leena Pendharker 20 Weeks, Raspberry Magic will be adapting the book into a screenplay and directing the film. View the discussion thread.

Paul Grove

Sutty is a lesbian of Indian descent who is from a future Earth that has been racked by a terrible war between those who believe in monotheist religion and those who believe in scientific progress. Sutty trains to become an ambassador to the world Aka, a world of humans which has only just been given access to technology such as computers and aeroplanes. Le Guin writes an elusive narrative about conflict and nuance. On the world of Aka, scientific progress is everything, and the government has b Sutty is a lesbian of Indian descent who is from a future Earth that has been racked by a terrible war between those who believe in monotheist religion and those who believe in scientific progress.

On the world of Aka, scientific progress is everything, and the government has banned the world's religion in favour of capitalism, the reverse of the war on Sutty's earth, where science had been forced underground. Le Guin is arguing against any belief system that is totalitarian, that has no room for dissent or subtlety. But it's also a work about stories, and an evocation of culture. Part of what I love about Le Guin is that her SF isn't very interested in technology or science, but she is very interested in anthropology and biology.

She's the only SF writer I can think of who writes about the herd animals of other worlds, who cares where the vegetables come from, or who educates children. The world of Aka feels organic and real -- I could almost feel its cold winds and see its slow rivers, and her descriptions of its landscapes, its mountains, cities, and people are beautiful and compelling. The religion of Aka is known as "The Telling", an elusive belief system that has no deities or afterlife, but involves the telling of stories.

It reminds me somewhat of ideas from Zen Buddhism and Taoism: the importance of the moment, of deliberate, thoughtful action, of seeking wisdom from from the natural world, of admitting ignorance. But it's also based on the importance of storytelling. I think it's hard for a writer to write well about storytelling, but when they do it's catnip for me, the avid reader. I really enjoyed this book, and I loved the study of Sutty, and her slow grappling with her grief at the loss of her partner, and her love for the people of Aka.

My complaint is that the ending felt too sudden and too complete. It leaves things fairly open, but I felt in a book that was so careful to think about its characters and consider motivations and reasons that it was too fast and too easy.

Children of suicide: the telling and the knowing.

Another twenty pages would have helped. Still: this is highly recommended. Jan 07, Shirley rated it did not like it. I was given this book as part of a book chain I've joined. I was honestly glad to have it because I've heard so much about Ursula K Le Guin and I've always felt that I should give her a try at least once. And I tried.

Discover the fascinating relationship between food, culture, and place in Alaska

I really tried. I acknowledge that her writing can be quite beautiful, but this was way too slow moving with far too many banal details for me. The characters were flat and I felt nothing for any of them. It feels like this was not written with a plot in mind, but rather intended t I was given this book as part of a book chain I've joined. It feels like this was not written with a plot in mind, but rather intended to be vehicle for a moral message. It reminded me of those old-fashioned and dreadfully dull early 20th century utopian fictions that I read in high school and college: brimming with good intentions and missionary zeal, but insufferably trite and heavy handed.

Having a moral message with good intentions doesn't make up for a lack of plot and shallow characterizations.


  • The Seven Faith Tribes: Who They Are, What They Believe, and Why They Matter.
  • Search Bar.
  • The Telling.
  • Descriptive Catalog of Greek Coins?
  • Social City Hacks & Strategies.
  • Ecology and Evolution of Dung Beetles;

I lost interest. I ended up skimming through it to the end so I won't count it as one of my reads.

The Telling Room

Six novels and several short stories have previously chronicled the Hainish experience through the worlds they have touched The stories take place several hundred years into Earth's future, where we learn that humanity is the result of Hanish colonization of the habitable worlds in the universe.

Le Guin gives each of the numerous Hain worlds, includingbEarth, a distinct society, ensuring herself of a plethora of c The Telling is situated in Ursula Le Guin's ingeniously imagined Hainish universe.

Le Guin gives each of the numerous Hain worlds, includingbEarth, a distinct society, ensuring herself of a plethora of cultural variety to play in. Her titles have been categorized as feminist literature, utopian soence fiction, reinterpretedmyth and, of course, anthropological fiction but they are so myriad in nature that hesitate to relegatebthem to any one of these headings.

Her penchant for strong, anomalous characters and story lines are too parallelbto reality, too based on a true mythological realm to attract readers ofbonly one genre. Sutty is an Earthling and a Hain-trained ethnologist, known as an Observer. Because she knows something of their now-proscribed written language, she is assigned to the planet Aka to discover and document what Akan culture was like before the presence of previous Hain Observers unintentionally but significantly changed the culture forever. Her task borders on illegal and brings great personal risk to those who help her since the local government outlawed the planet's entire pre-space history.

Planet-wide, all written records and prior cultural tendencies have been destroyed or are very deeply repressedbin the name of progress. The Akans have no desire to look like a backward society to their new, more technologically advanced allies. They agreed to deny their culture and impoverish their lives for the 'March to the Stars, an artificial, theoretical goal, an imitation of societies?

Sutty travels to the most rural areas of Aka, where she expects to find the most remnants of the original Akan culture. During her participant observation, she discovers a prohibited tradition of significant importance, a rich oral tradition, known as the telling. To these rural people, it is nearly holy for lack of a more culturally significant term to partake in storytelling, as ether yoz listener or maz teller Sutty's challenge is in finding a common thread: connecting the stones, a semblance of purpose for their Importance.

As anboutsider, this goal is a struggle, for itbis difficult for the Akans to describe something so innate in their tradttions. Aka is a realistic, fully fieshed-out fictional world with its own folklore, language and history. Readers are immersed in a well developed alien environment viewed within its own cultural context.

Sutty could be an actual person, complete in her imperfect humanity.

She harbors ethnocentricbideas despite her very attempts to thwart them. Learning throughout her experience, she eventually develops an unreserved and invoked role in the society she is studying. Shebgrows into this new role of potential caretaker with the idea that she mght be able to use her knowledge when she returns home to plead the Akan case to their government and helpbthem return to the ways of old. Like many of her previous novels, The Telling demands careful attenion and an appreciation of Le Guin's s peripherally allegorical subtexts.

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I mourned with Sutty as she realized that the original Akan culture, a rich. If I recall correctly, I met Ms. May 19, Michael Gray rated it it was amazing. Reading this excellent novel by Ursula LeGuin highlights a question about literary form. Why does the form of science fiction include so many profound explorations of what it means to be human, of what is fragile and at risk in the world in which we live, while raising our awareness of what is most worth preserving.

Well, perhaps there are not that many profound works, but Ursula Leguin, as well as Stanislaw Lem and Philip Dick, come quickly to mind as writers who shine a light on the human expe Reading this excellent novel by Ursula LeGuin highlights a question about literary form. Well, perhaps there are not that many profound works, but Ursula Leguin, as well as Stanislaw Lem and Philip Dick, come quickly to mind as writers who shine a light on the human experiment on the third planet from our Sun.

It's as if the freedom to invent other worlds and other life forms, and to envision broad sweeeps of time and space, allows for a deep examination of the particular knowledge in operation in our human realm. In "The Telling", there is some of the quality that has left a residue of her "Left Hand of Darkness" in my mind decades later.

The Telling Project

But there is something else in "The Telling", along side its depiction of the frailities that makes integrity a blessing in any being. Both a threat to true democracy, "The Telling" places corporate absolutism and religious totalitarianism on two different planets, years of space travel apart, and then weaves a story around the recognition of how much has been lost in both realms.

Oh, and I should also mention, "The Telling" is a hell of a good story, that kept me reading with sheer enjoyment. When I first started listening to The Telling, I didn't realize it was in the same universe as The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness , in fact I didn't know those two books were related either.

So this story takes place in a loosely related world, but on a new planet. Sutty has been sent to collect the printed historical record, but arrives to discover most of it has been destroyed. Her own life on Terra was destroyed when her lover was killed by drones, and being sent to Aka may or may When I first started listening to The Telling, I didn't realize it was in the same universe as The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness , in fact I didn't know those two books were related either. Her own life on Terra was destroyed when her lover was killed by drones, and being sent to Aka may or may not be a way to push her out of the way of normal life.

Along the way she finds out about a practice called "The Telling," that is more than just an oral storytelling tradition. The story is concise although it ends a little too abruptly to understand what will happen in the future on Aka. I'm not convinced Sutty has as much power as she thinks she has to effect change.

The reader, Gabra Zackman, does a nice job, although the sounds made during the tellings sounded a little like orgasms. Maybe they were supposed to. The true believer. The righteous man with the righteous mission. The one that jails people for reading and burns the books. That persecutes people who do exercises the wrong way.

That dumps out the medicine and pisses on it. That pushes the button that sends the drones to drop the bombs. And hides behind a bunker and doesn't get hurt. Shielded by God.