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View Diary: Books Go Boom!   Who is the Greatest Woman Novelist since 1950? (294 comments)

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  •  I haven't read Le Guin (5+ / 0-)

    but I have heard similar praise in the past from folks whose opinion I trust. I have read that Lathe of Heaven is considered by many to be her best or most illustrative. Would you agree?

    •  Hmm.. thats a tough one (6+ / 0-)

      Lathe is a straight-forward thought-experiment about our relation to reality.  It is a compelling read and will have you thinking and re-thinking for days if you are into metaphysics and skepticism and the like

      Left-hand is a more subtle narrative about the intricacies of society from politics to religion to class all told through an interpretation of gender unlike any other story.  There are a lot of layers to this one.

      Hard to pick one.....

      Красота спасет мир --F. Dostoevsky

      by Wisper on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:15:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Always Going Home (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        RiveroftheWest, Brecht

        I thought it was her best, and I have it on my bookshelf. Interestingly, Amazon doesn't seem to have it....  

        •  Ah, found it. But you have to look under the exact (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          title: Always Coming Home.

          In reply to your comment above, hanging off my tip jar (small pet peeve of mine), Sandpoint seems like a lovely place. It's not for me - I had enough of the Chicago winter, and moved to LA.

          Agree with you, though, that "what I want in literature is immersion in a different world."

          "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

          by Brecht on Sat Jun 15, 2013 at 11:03:26 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry about (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RiveroftheWest, Brecht

            hanging off your tip jar - I'm fairly new at this, and tried to figure out how others had done it. Obviously I figured wrong, as I saw when my comment hung off your tip jar.

            I appreciate your intelligent topics.

            Yes, winters in Sandpoint all seem to last about 8 months these days, and then we have an influx of tourists oohing and aahing about the beauty, and we think, "Where were you when we were shoveling snow every day?"

            Actually the most blessed day is Labor Day, when they haul their boats out of the water and go home.

            Sound ungrateful, don't I? Sorry..., well, not very.  

            •  "I'm fairly new at this": I checked, and you've (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              been here three years, and only made 23 comments. Firstly, kudos for your laconicism; secondly, I'm chuffed that you think my diaries are worth commenting in.

              I've replied to tip jars myself, everyone has. It only peeved me when I noticed some people who reply to one of the first comments every time, as if their comments deserved more mojo and readers than everyone else's.

              "Actually the most blessed day is Labor Day, when they haul their boats out of the water and go home." I hear you. Tourists can be annoying. We get a lot of them here in LA - but the place is practically designed for them. And they come from all over the world, so we get some interesting people-watching out of it.

              Thanks for your compliments and politeness, dandy lion. Your appreciation of Marilynne Robinson was quite lyrical. I think you should comment more often - but I can infer from my own sig line that everyone has the right to be as quiet as they like, too.

              "Every man has a right to utter what he thinks truth" Samuel Johnson

              by Brecht on Sun Jun 16, 2013 at 12:35:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  The Lathe of Heaven is one of her most accessible (7+ / 0-)

      Some of her works that are even better are a bit "experimental" and take patience to get into.

      The Left Hand of Darkness, for instance, alternates first-person viewpoint chapters with essays, anecdotes, history, folklore, etc. to build as complete a picture as she can manage of a world that is as close to being gender-free as humanoids can possibly come. (And even so she felt she hadn't quite made her point strongly enough.)

      The Dispossessed is arguably her most important book politically, but it begins in the middle of the story and then alternates between past and present until the story finally catches up with itself in the last chapter.

      The Lathe of Heaven presents none of these difficulties, at least once you get past a first chapter that is totally ambiguous and never completely explained (which was the dream, which was the reality?).

      If it's
      Not your body,
      Then it's
      Not your choice
      And it's
      None of your damn business!

      by TheOtherMaven on Fri Jun 14, 2013 at 06:19:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Love Le Guin (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RiveroftheWest, Brecht

      Earthsea, Left Hand of Darkness, Always Coming Home ...  Le Guin is certainly one of the greats.  Also, her story "The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas" is one of the best short pieces of English prose ever, and is especially poignant given the recent revelations of "enhanced interrogation" and the metastasized security state. What is especially powerful about that short story is that Le Guin's narrator is only able to render the utopian in negative terms, as a refusal of something that seems so close to it but is in fact its opposite.

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