Customer Reviews for

The Left Hand of Darkness

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

I Could Not Put This Book Down!

I didn't expect to like this book, but it came to me highly recommended, so I gave it a try. I was rivetted. It's not just a science fiction novel, but a novel of human relationships. This is truely a classic piece of literature.

posted by TY2 on June 6, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

It was ok

This was the first book i have read by Le Guin and i thought it was just ok. It was highly recommended to me but it was not the best. I felt the story moved very slow, and Instead of eliciting a strong bond with the characters, you see the story as textbook. It¿s this s...
This was the first book i have read by Le Guin and i thought it was just ok. It was highly recommended to me but it was not the best. I felt the story moved very slow, and Instead of eliciting a strong bond with the characters, you see the story as textbook. It¿s this stiff objectiveness that prevents the read from forming a deep connection with the characters. As far as innovation, i can't say i saw any new sci fi thinking but the writing and the philosophical thoughts behind the embodiment of the dualistic pit falls of humanity in the Gethen race. If you are a reader then you wont mind this one. I will definitely read more from Le Guin

posted by Anonymous on March 13, 2008

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  • Posted June 6, 2010

    I Could Not Put This Book Down!

    I didn't expect to like this book, but it came to me highly recommended, so I gave it a try. I was rivetted. It's not just a science fiction novel, but a novel of human relationships. This is truely a classic piece of literature.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    A book I refuse to live without

    - Which is how I titled my Essentials List.<BR/><BR/>LeGuin has an uncanny ability to pack her prose with thought-provoking philosophical asides which still give me pause, as do her depictions of the intricacies of this utterly alien civilization. "The houses and islands and Hearths sit every which way, chaotic, in a profuse, prodigious confusion that suddenly culminates (as anarchy will do in Karhide) in splendor" still resonates. Perhaps I'm just farfetching though.<BR/><BR/>However, I confess that what I found riveting is their journey over the Ice. As one who yearly went winter-backpacking, I know first hand how huge the sound of wind is in the winter wilderness, and of nightime silences so profound that the tick of a falling ice crystal grabs your attention, and of "...the susurus of windblown snow...." I can attest to the immensity of the solitary winter landscape (and you attend to it, for it can hurt, kill, or cause you misery otherwise) as well as the constant preoccupation with the tiny details of comfort and survival, and with food, which equals strength, warmth, and well-being. I found her depiction of this wonderfully evocative. It is absolutely authentic.<BR/><BR/>Others may feel that the bond between Ai and Estraven is lacking in the end. I assure you that, apart from their dramatic situation, the comradeship, the otherworldly sharing, entailed with long winter treks is deep and lasting.<BR/><BR/>Difficult to share with others, nonetheless, this is a fat, multifaceted story which works well on many levels. I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2005

    Both exciting and fascinating

    The author of the Earthsea books brings readers to a frozen world that challenges traditional views of gender and society. Both exciting and fascinating, the adventures of Earth Ambassador Genly Ai on the planet Winter represent science fiction storytelling at its best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2005

    Whew, wait while I stand up.

    I enjoyed the read about as much as any other. The idea of a both-sex civilization alone would probably keep me hooked to the book but LeGuin instead gives me other ideas to feast on. Religion, humankinds speeding about issues,and many many more. The reading gets tough from time to time but overall it was a very satisfying read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 21, 2014

    Powerful

    This book won me over. I am no fan of Le Guin's distant prose, but this story is deep and powerful. It challenged me, and changed the way I look at the world, just a little bit. That's a good book.

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  • Posted June 26, 2014

    It is one of my favorite books I have read! The world and the ch

    It is one of my favorite books I have read! The world and the characters are all so fascinating that I could not put this down. It is not only elegantly written but also very thought provoking. Loved it from start to end! 

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  • Posted July 9, 2011

    Brilliant

    This is one of those books you want all your friends to read so that you can discuss it with them.

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  • Posted November 28, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Classic Science Fiction Book to Make You Think

    The Emissary has come and Gethen will never be the same again. Genly Ai accepted that his mission as first representative of the Ekumen would not be easy to a world so different as the planet known colloquially as Winter. He knew that his own physical makeup being unique in comparison to the natives could not only prove to be difficult to accept but would also serve as proof of his claims. As he finds his mission stalling out after two years, and Winter coming no closer to actual contact with the greater human community- change comes to stolid Karhide. With it comes treachery and deceit. Suddenly whom Genly can trust is the most precious commodity he owns. Spurned by the King of Karhide, Genly decides to take his message to the rival nation of Orgoreyn. Here in the communal state, he finds himself the pawn of power brokers who would use him to forward their own agendas. His eventual incarceration and escape place him in the debt of the one person whom he has vowed not to trust, the exiled former premier of Kharhide. Together Genly and Estraven will forge a bond that will see them through adversity to the final success of the Emissary's mission.

    Leguin's work stands the test of time and takes its reader to not only a unique world but asks questions that are relevant today.

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  • Posted March 4, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Sci Fi

    I am reading two Ursula Le Guin Books now, I got hooked on them from the Jane Austen Book club.

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  • Posted February 16, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Makes you think...

    It's not that the story is so fantastic on its own, it is how it makes you think about how we are so lashed into our male/female thinking. Everything in our world seems to be related to gender, and it really isn't a positive. While initially I thought how wierd, how awful, how ironic that "they" saw the normal male/female seperation as perveted, as the story concluded I began to see it from a different perspective. Le Guin managed to write a science fiction story that makes one look at reality in a new way. It definitely deserved the praise it recieved.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2004

    Science fiction and Fantasy lots of books

    Because it Chapter 1 it says' In white tunic and shirt and breeches'. How many awards they have? 2 of Hugo and Nebula Awards. He loves Science fiction and fantasy books. Ok, We have a lot of read to do we checked out in the library copy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2004

    One of my ALL-TIME favorites

    Enjoyed greatly, though I had to read it twice to 'get it all', that FIRST time! Author leGuin shook the conventions of the times (I was educated in the American South in the 1960s; female Merit Scholar in Hell!) in a most positive way. LeGuin creates a planet where the 'people' don't have PERMANENT gender. Sex came in 'season' and a person (I longed to be a real PERSON, not a mere woman!) would become (temporarily) male or female without being stuck there (unless SHE becomes pregnant; motherhood is interesting there, too.) The results of all people being created truly equal make for an interesting story. Then there is Winter, all the time! Read it and love it. Can be a guy story, too; I've been married to a great guy for 36 years, he just doesn't like fantasy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2001

    Excellent

    In addition to the thematic elements discussed in other comments, this is also just a plain good story--complete with intrigue and adventure--about two guys (well, one guy and a sort-of-guy). Although the single-sex society is an intriguing concept and the images of various opposites that require one another in order to form a whole (the image we are most familiar with is the yin-yang symbol) make it interesting from a literary standpoint, it's also a compelling story of friendship and sacrifice, as Genly Ai and Estraven come to know each other.

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    Posted May 21, 2010

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