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The Dispossessed (book discussion)

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  • How can societies be structured? What is the role of the individual?

    What is equality? Is it possible? Is it desirable? 

    What is the nature of time? Are cause and effect truly separate?

    We'll explore these questions and more in the novel The Dispossessed, by Ursula K. Le Guin.

    Summary (from Amazon): 

    Centuries ago, the moon Anarres was settled by utopian anarchists who left the Earthlike planet Urras in search of a better world, a new beginning. Now a brilliant physicist, Shevek, determines to reunite the two civilizations that have been separated by hatred since long before he was born.

    The Dispossessed is a penetrating examination of society and humanity -- and one man's brave undertaking to question the unquestionable and ignite the fires of change.

    Get the Book: 

    Amazon (affiliate link helps pay our Meetup.com fees!)
    Goodreads
    Libraries
    Tennessee READS: Regional eBook and Audiobook Download System

    From SFSite's review:

    The Dispossessed -- which has not been out of print since its original publication in 1974 -- is perhaps Le Guin's most famous work, and arguably her most intellectually challenging. 

    It's a book of opposites: a utopian novel that doesn't flinch from exposing the flaws of its model society, a feminist-themed narrative with a male protagonist, a social commentary that presents communal cooperation as the truest human ideal, yet focuses on the inevitable separateness of the creative individual within such a structure. 

    Through these dichotomies, Le Guin examines the tension between human aspiration and human nature, between what can be dreamed and what can be achieved. This larger theme, together with Le Guin's mature mastery of her craft, give The Dispossessed a universality that has prevented it from becoming dated, despite its roots in the political issues of its time (the communal counterculture of the late 60s and early 70s, the original women's movement).

    About the Author:

    Ursula K. Le Guin (US /ˈɜːrsələ ˈkroʊbər ləˈɡwɪn/) was born in 1929, the daughter of a writer and an anthropologist. She published her first novel, Rocannon's World, in 1966. Her fourth novel, The Left Hand of Darkness (1969) won both the Hugo and Nebula awards, a feat she repeated with The Dispossessed (1974). The Earthsea trilogy established her as a master of fantasy as well as science fiction. She has also published poetry and short story collections, and she received the Pilgrim Award in 1989 for her critical writings.

    Le Guin influenced such Booker Prize winners and other writers as Salman Rushdie and David Mitchell – and notable science fiction and fantasy writers including Neil Gaiman and Iain Banks. She has won the Hugo Award, Nebula Award, Locus Award, and World Fantasy Award, each more than once. In 2014, she was awarded the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. Le Guin has resided in Portland, Oregon since 1959. 

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  • Rachel M.
    Organizer,
    Event Host

    Reader, writer, humanist, vegetarian, cat lover, cancer survivor. New to Clarksville.

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