Book Review: The Left Hand of Darkness

I have a good old fashioned cold to thank for plowing through this book so quickly. Time well spent though. In the end this book does a good job of tying up the plot points, the ending is a bit as expected – but with novels like this it is hard to decide if that is because the plot was originally predictable or if we have just been exposed to so many similar plots that this one unfolds as we have been conditioned to expect. This book does a good job at dealing with globalization before it was a major issue – how do we attempt to understand the behavior and customs of people so wholly different than ourselves? What standards do we hold them to when they have a different belief system? (Weirdly relevant with what’s happening in politics right now. (ok, maybe not so weird.)) We’re finally given the line in which the title of the book is derived – a nice allusion to the fact that everything must be balanced by an opposite, that an opposite is required for definition and existence to even be possible. Love your entire self, respect your neighbor for being a different self – try to understand one another. In the end, we’re all the same and all headed towards the same fate. I’m interested to see how The Dispossessed is similar, or different. I am fairly certain now that it must deal with a different set of “aliens” but beyond that I am at a loss. I would recommend this book to people whom like very well crafted metaphors (the book is rife with them), people into escape/adventure (there’s like 100 pages of hiking descriptions) and people interested in reading the classics. The message is one we all need to be reminded of from time to time.

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