Reviews tagging Forced institutionalization

The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula K. Le Guin

3 reviews

swampmonster's review

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challenging dark emotional hopeful informative reflective tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Plot
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? No

4.0

A story very focused on political intrigue, the concept of home and humanity, and, most of all, nationalism and it's impacts. Not my favorite on a personal level, but well-done.

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surelyinthefountain's review

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dark emotional inspiring reflective sad slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

Love this book; it's the romance of the century, though I admit I have so much personal attachment to it because of the care and nuance with which Le Guin writes nonbinary characters. Estraven is the nonbinary rep we all deserve, and Genry's growing understanding of who they were outside of the gender binary was just SO formative for me and helpful in my own journey. There's a lot of wisdom there and at least in my opinion, not very dated. The use of "he/him" for androgynous characters perhaps isn't what Le Guin might have chosen had she been writing today, but it's well-justified, I think, based on who Genry Ai is that he would use that pronoun set when writing his report. A couple of passages seem rooted in a more overtly sexist society, but to be honest, we unfortunately still live in a world where many people still fundamentally believe those things, even if they know what they're "supposed to" say, and those attitudes still do great harm out in the world. So this book is more relevant than ever, I think.
But then, maybe I'm just biased. This book is beautiful and I'm not afraid to gush forever about it! A world where people aren't seen as male or female, just as human beings -- what's not to love??

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readerette's review against another edition

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adventurous emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

5.0

I'm glad I read the afterword in this book, as it called to my attention the benefit of some of the things I disliked, such as the main human character using "he" as a neutral pronoun and seemingly finding every opportunity to disrespect "feminine" characteristics in a gender-neutral world. Turns out that Le Guin later regretted using "he" as gender-neutral, and that on inspection, the main character is not as progressive as he likes to think he is, with his gender bias proving that out.

What I enjoyed regardless was the poetic definition of this new world so different from ours and so much the same. I also liked the relationship between Genly and Therem, which was appropriately complex and believable. Some parts were too slow or detailed for my taste so I did some skimming, but it was still wonderful world-building and sociological exploration.

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