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

adventurous challenging emotional hopeful mysterious tense medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes


I can't help but feel like this book would be eaten alive by much of the online book community if it were published today. It uses he as a gender neutral pronoun in a book deconstructing gender socialization and one of the two POV characters is a misogynist who cannot fathom associating "feminine" with anything valuable. This alone seems enough for many to write it off completely. And yet it is the exploration of the nuances of these imperfections that make the book so incredible. Genly's misogyny is precisely what foils him from making progress in his mission, and ultimately puts not only his mission but life at risk. The book uses he as the gender neutral because Genly is the one translating. 

Reading this book made me wonder what other valuable explorations we might miss out on in favor of demanding perfection.

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