The Telling by Ursula Le Guin

The Telling

Ursula Le Guin

Although this is a new book in the novelist's famous Hainish cycle of Science Fiction it is readable in its own right. It is a modern day parable that looks at the perils of capitalism, globalisation and intolerance and manages to find a measure of optimism. If you enjoy science fiction or want to confront the bigger issues you will enjoy this!

Extract

'What is history?' Unroy asked abruptly, using the Hainish word. 'Who are the historians? Are you one?'
'The Hainish say I am', Sutty said, and they launched into a long and intense linguistico - philosophical discussion about whether history and the Telling could be understood as the same thing, or similar things, or not alike at all; about what historians did, what maz did, and why.
'I think history and the Telling are the same thing,' Unroy said at last. 'They're ways of holding and keeping things sacred.'
'What is sacredness?'
'What is true is sacred. What has been suffered. What is beautiful.'
'So the Telling tries to find the truth in events ... or the pain, or the beauty?
'No need to try to find it,' said Unroy. 'The sacredness is there. In the truth, the pain, the beauty. So that the telling of it is sacred.'

Parallels
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • Nineteen Eighty Four by George Orwell