The Dispossessed
by Ursula K. Le Guin
Discussed June 2006
The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin

Anarres
Urras

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The Dispossessed
by Ursula K. Le Guin


Ursula K. Le Guin, Winner of the National Book Award in children’s literature and of science fiction’s Nebula and Hugo awards for her novel The Left Hand of Darkness, has here produced a stunning tour de force. It is the story of Shevek, a brilliant physicist from the severely isolationist and anarchic planet Anarres who, in the face of great hostility, outright threats, and the pain of separation from his family, makes an unprecedented trip to the rich mother planet, Urras. Greater than any concern for his own well-being is the belief that the walls of hatred, distrust and philosophic division between his planet and the rest of the civilized universe must be torn down.

Against this backdrop, Mrs. Le Guin skillfully explores some pressing problems of our time: the position of women in a structured society, the merits of socialism and anarchism, the prospects for the idealist personality in society, and the complexities of human relations. The Dispossessed is a deeply profound and thought-provoking work, and a deeply engrossing story.

Book Reviews

"The Dispossessed breaths life into the utopian tradition for our ambiguous age of hope and terror, and masterfully raises science fiction to major humanistic literature. It speaks in an angry, compassionate, wise, beautiful voice. A synthesis for our times, a literary and cultural event of the first order.”
Darko Suvin, Professor, Department of English, McGill University