The Dispossessed – NaBloPoMo 2010

There was a wall.

The Dispossessed by Ursula K LeGuin


so begins The Dispossessed, Ursula K. LeGuin‘s utopian/dystopian novel.  the wall is not much as far as walls go – no Berlin Wall here.  it is simply the wall enclosing the (mostly unused) spaceport in Anarres, the moon of Urras;  Anarres was settled almost two hundred years ago by revolutionaries from Urras.

the revolutionaries have made Anarres into an anarchists’ paradise: there is no private property, no government per se; but an anarchist society can become as rigid as other societies, which drives the physicist Shevek to leave Anarres for Urras.


6 thoughts on “The Dispossessed – NaBloPoMo 2010

  1. she also wrote the story of said revolution.

    Anarres always seemed both literally and spiritually barren to me — thus the “ambiguous” subtitle, I s’pose.

    the best novel I read in 2008 was her “Lavinia”.

  2. I was hanging back on commenting, because I’m in a “if you can’t say something nice don’t say anything at all” kind of mood. (Family argument over the holidays *sigh*) But inasmuch as I love Ursula LeGuin, this is my least favorite of her novels. She is a master at seamlessly blending in political themes in her work, but this one klunked, for me at least. Maybe it was a tad too obvious in its Cold War comparisons. But now that I’m thinking about it, I should go back and read it and see how it’s held up.

    I still love “The Left Hand of Darkness,” which takes place in the same universe as Anarres. Gender ambiguity and fluidity are still issues today, as anarchism and authoritarianism ought to be as well.

    • I love The Left Hand of Darkness but can’t find it here at home and I had decided to only blog about books I could hold in my hands.

      The Dispossessed is somewhat dry and tedious, but it would have been much worse in the hands of anyone else but LeGuin. to this day no one can do sociology-as-science-fiction better than her.

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