A Bit of Football Wanking )

UPS simply refuses to deliver my books (and my Pride and Prejudice miniseries, and the boy's wireless card...) when I'm here. I literally camped out in front of my building in wait for the UPS guy, and he came by after I had to leave to meet friends for dinner. GRR!! Argh!! So still not murdering cat-thieves or insane gay mages for me. I amuse myself pondering what they could possibly be doing in Chapter 5 as a way to pass the time. (Yeah, sad. The Coop didn't have it stocked either.) Also attempting to get through A Wizard of Earthsea and Looking for Jake. Let you know how that works out.

Despite looking forward to this break for a long time, my jobless state is only now starting to sink in. Strange, I thought it would be a bit more revelatory. So, in that spirit, a poll.

[Poll #759870]
Ursula Le Guin has an odd effect on me. I begin reading expecting to have difficulty with the story - it'll be too "hard sf" (more on what constitutes that in another entry, perhaps), or too dated, or I don't know what. It probably stems from my inability to truly get into reading A Wizard of Earthsea - on the surface it reads as perhaps a bit cliché though I know it is the novel that spawned the imitators. It may be that her protagonists start out detached, not unlike the jellyfish that begins The Lathe of Heaven. But whatever the reason, it takes me longer than I would generally like to get into her work. Nonetheless, when I do read for more than thirty minutes at a time, say, I find myself irreversibly enmeshed in her narrative.

Her use of language is exquisite. It pours over my senses like warm honey, and I wonder if it's possible to develop synaesthesia in response to such vivid work. It's absorbing, enchanting, bringing you that much closer to her character in both empathy and understanding.

In The Left Hand of Darkness Estraven's plight was sometimes eclipsed by Ai's search for understanding, but both were communicated to the reader, and in the end they were so entangled one could hardly separate them. Likewise, in The Lathe of Heaven I find myself agreeing with, and empathizing with, both Orr and Haber. As a scientist, Haber's desire to make the world a better place is more than understandable to me - it is my life's purpose. His reasoning is mostly sound, though a bit soulless, and I can see where critique of the character arises - hell, I have more than a few issues with him, given the moral and ethical training I received before I was allowed near other human beings in order to ask them simple survey questions! But Le Guin is writing in an era that's much closer to Stanley Milgram and Philip Zimbardo, who put their subjects through severe emotional and mental trauma (albeit without meaning to), much like Haber.

Thus our sympathies naturally turn to Orr and his philosophies. I must admit that it is difficult for me to attain empathy with such a passive personality. Orr is strong, as Le Guin remarks, but he is very passive, content to flow along in life, no matter how horrible, until there is no life left. He is afraid of change, one thing that frustrates me above all else in people I am closest too. I much prefer "to seek, to strive, to find, and not to yield" as Lord Tennyson says. I am a very pro-active personality, much more Heather, I like to think, who serves as the healthy balance of action and thought, straddling the divide created by Orr and Haber. In fact, the climax of the book rests not only on Orr's shoulders, but Heather's aid in his endeavor.

So overall, I liked it. Not as much as The Left Hand of Darkness, but there can only be one Estraven. And if the hard truths Le Guin wrestles with in this novel are difficult for me to swallow, then perhaps swallowing them is even more worthwhile.

As an added bonus, I found the most perfect line regarding love, ever: Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; re-made all the time, made new. What could be more true?


adelynne: (Default)


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