City of Illusions

{4.5/5} “We hide from the Shing. Also we hide from what we were. Do you see that, Falk? We live well in the houses — well enough. But we are ruled utterly by fear. There was a time we sailed in ships between the stars, and now we dare not go a hundred miles from home. We keep a little knowledge, and do nothing with it. But once we used that knowledge to weave the pattern of life like a tapestry across night and chaos. We enlarged the chances of life. We did man’s work.”

A man comes walking out of the forest. He has no memory, no clothes, no language — and yellow eyes. The people of Zove’s House take him in — they feed him, teach him their language, and give him a name — Falk. Falk stays with them for several years and he even falls in love with Parth. But eventually he feels he must leave — he must make the long journey to Es Toch to find out the truth about himself.

City of Illusions by Ursula K. Le Guin was published in 1967.

In Rocannon’s World and Planet of Exile you find out only a tiny bit about the outside universe — in this book you find out a lot more.

This book takes place on Earth, some hundreds of years in the future. It takes place hundreds of years after Planet of Exile, and descendants of the people in that book are involved here.

Falk is confused quite a bit — he meets with people of varying customs and temperaments on his journey. Eventually he comes to learn the truth about himself and the world — it’s another great story from a master of science fiction.

How would it feel to have two distinct minds in your head?

Other books in Le Guin’s Hainish universe that I’ve read are Rocannon’s World, Planet of Exile, The Left Hand of Darkness, The Dispossessed, and The Telling. I’ve also read The Birthday of the World, which contains several Hainish short stories.

This entry was posted on Sunday, April 14th, 2013 at 7:51 pm and is filed under Reviews of books. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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