The Dispossessed by Ursula K LeGuin

Now,  I usually read books for their stories, rather than their themes.  But when reading this book, the comparison between the two settings – socialism (which was referred to as anarchism) vs capitalism – was so obvious and all consuming that I almost didn’t even notice the climax.

It just felt like the author had a point to make and then decided that the best way to make the readers think about it was to beat them over the head with it until all that there was was this social commentary.

It was an interesting premise – twin planets, with the older one being capitalist, and the more recently settled being isolationist and socialist.  And someone decided to go back from the isolated planet to their “home” planet – the first to person to go back in the 170 years of the colony.

The story goes back and forth between the main character growing up, and getting to the point of leaving his planet, and him being on this other planet.  All the rebellion that took almost 40 years to develop at home, he repeats within about 2 years being on the other planet, so it has some nice parallels.

But I didn’t much enjoy the book.  The copy that I got from the library had clearly been used by someone who was a student of literature, who was analyzing all the differences between the locales, and it distracted me.  But even so, I understand why I didn’t finish it when I tried to read it years ago.  It’s just too dry.

I loved LeGuin’s EarthSea Cycle (I think I will add it to my “To Read” list in fact…) but I felt that there was much more storyline going on there, and much less preaching.  Or maybe it’s still there, and I didn’t notice it because I was younger.

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