Always Coming Home PDF ë Always Coming PDF/EPUB ²

  • Paperback
  • 525 pages
  • Always Coming Home
  • Ursula K. Le Guin
  • English
  • 10 July 2016

10 thoughts on “Always Coming Home

  1. Ivan Ivan says:

    This is only book from Ursula Le Guin I didn't enjoy Second read and my opinion remains unchanged so my original reviews will remain unchanged as well This is ethnology book the fact that it's ethnology of made up civilization in post apocalyptic world doesn't make it less soBecause of that I find it hard to rate this book On one hand there is evident effort to create culture of one entire civilization with it's uniue culture poetry folktales myths plays and songs and all that in world that used to be technologically advance before catastrophe It's something that is extremely hard to do in high uality and thematically consistent but luckily Ursula Le Guin is great writer and manages to pull off something that only few authors could After all that praise why am I leaving it unrated? Simply while I can see that why this book is great it definitely isn't my cup of tea I don't care much about poetry I didn't find most of folktales or plays interesting I can appreciate this superbly written book for what it is but that doesn't mean I had much fun with it

  2. Nathan "N.R." Gaddis Nathan "N.R." Gaddis says:

    The Millions discusses Always Coming Home The Utopias of Ursula K Le Guinby Kelly Lynn Thomashttpsthemillionscom201801ursulAgain me saying things I'm not authorized to say If you've not read Always Coming Home you've not really read LeGuin's vision Okay and then so for a few scrambled thoughts and reflections and impressions and wayoff course remarksThis is true only the second Le Guin I've read It may be the lastMost possibly so because I suspect that this may be her masterstroke the iceberg cap the little tassel on the mortar board swung to the other side upon a stroll cross the stage But don't take it from meI mean of course specifically in what she has done here with the form of the novel And that's really what's going to hold my interest I've not caught wind that she's done or similar elsewhere I'm not interested in what she does with genre tropes ; scifi and fantasy She may do all that stuff veryvery well but that one other of Le Guin I read didn't raise itself above the water line of the genre This one did This one rose right up into the realm of the Novel And what a novel can do And what you can put into a novel And how wide the waistband of the novel is Stuff it all in like a bagful of jelly tis the season still I saw someone say it's not even a novelThis isn't it but I once thought and still do that Benjamin's Arcades Project would make an excellent formal model for a novel Le Guin did something very similar hereIn other words there is a reason this volume has such a miserable grscore 2232 Ratings · 166 Reviews relative to the Le Guin readership Because there is much here than storyAnd as to the story like with that famous Hopscotch you are invited to freely of course decide which path to take ; the novel path or the story path If story is all you are in for just read the three parts of Stone Telling But if you want Novel read the rest and even The Back of the Book There is a cassette of Kesh music included with the first editions pbhd Of course this novel may be read as than in itself I was rather impressed how closely it could be I won't described as a precursor to the Seven Dreams from all the formal and superficial elements all that back matter all those illustrations right down to the clash of cultures and imperialisms and things of this nature Either as a preuel volume or seuel depending how you signify what's hereAnd too Tom LeClair in his The Art of Excess places this novel at the end of the Rainbow as the epilogue of the Systext Gravity's RainbowSomething HappenedJ RThe Public BurningWomen and MenLETTERSAlways Coming Homein such a way so LeClair that Always Coming Home provides a kind of wholeness of human existence which at first at the beginning of the rainbow arc is found torn asunder by Control Let's uote a bit The novelist Le Guin is both White and Sun Clown but Always Coming Home is the most reconstructive work in the systext explicitly oriented to the subjects of home children and future A masterful combination of bildungsroman and ecological model Always Coming Home joins human part and cultural whole is simultaneously a psychological study that offers an active alternative to Heller's regressive self and a systems novel that provides a steady state alternative to Gaddis's runaway As epilogue to the systext Always Coming Home both circles backward in time to a past before our civilization in space to Pynchon's prologue and casts forward to a time after our civilization a time without excess 204And make it explicit I believe Le Guin intended Always Coming Home to be read as a direct reply to Gravity's Rainbow So should we say if you've not read Always Coming Home you ain't yet read GR? And further making it explicit Always Coming Home is not a model is not a map is not a program for us It cannot be applied to our situation It is not the politicalsocialeconomic solution to our situation Nor are the Amish But like the Amish Always Coming Home is an exercise of the imagination which goes towards evidence towards 'proof' that the way things are now is not inevitable and necessary It is an exercise in imagination which would invite us to exercise our own imagination in building a world for our selves in which we can live as we dream freely and justly I recently saw a comment which to me epitomizes our chains The sense of it is this don't bring me a problem if you don't first bring me three solutions Thus is criticism cut off before it begins and things continue as they were And so most of the Systext does indeed bring you three criticisms and complaints and diagnoses but no solutions Not their job That's your job In rare exception however Le Guin steps up to the rare plate of offering an imaginative path one might trod All the beautiful because impossible Remember always dream impossible

  3. Terence Terence says:

    It is unfortunate but my “book reading biorhythms” rarely coincide with the books being read by the various groups I belong to here on GR so I missed out on the reading of Always Coming Home that took place in the Always Coming Home group a few months ago I originally read the book nearly 20 years ago probably in my first year or two of graduate school and it didn’t lodge itself overly much in my conscious but what a difference twenty years makes My latest nonfiction reading has focused on the impending collapse of Western civilization as 7 billion soon to be 9 billion humans outstrip Nature’s ability to provide the resources or to absorb the wastes our way of life generates so it seemed “natural” that I would fall back on UKL to see a positive vision of the post industrial futureAnd it is a powerful vision of what humans might be capable of When I was compiling my GR shelves I gave ACH three stars because I remember liking it and UKL defaults to three stars but having reread it I have to revise my rating to four – it’s a remarkable accomplishment and deserves greater recognition Always Coming Home is not a novel though you can find one in there if you want to The setting is an indeterminate future on an Earth slowly recovering from its industrial age The vast destructive technologies of our time have vanished though advanced technology exists “All that had been replaced by the almost ethereal technology of the Citywhich had no use for heavy machinery even their spaceships and stations being mere nerve and gossamer” p 404But that’s not Le Guin’s focus Her attention is centered on the Valley of the Na and the Kesh who live there The Nine Towns are not Utopia UKL is too perceptive a writer to think humans will ever live in a perfect society however defined For example the Kesh are a peaceful folk and violence is almost unheard of but when the Condor People pass through the region it sparks the emergence of the Warriors Lodge for men and the Lamb Lodge for women a recurrence of the “sickness” that tore the old world apart “Only in war is redemption; only the victorious warrior will know the truth and knowing the truth will live forever For in sickness is our health in war our peace and for us there is only one one house One Above All Persons outside whom there is no health no peace no life no thing” Skull’s speech p 409 The culture she describes through Stone Telling’s tale myths poetry song and stories as well as the anthropological reports that frame it simply exists It makes no claim to special wisdom nor does it harbor designs on its neighbors The people who live their lives there are born grow up form friendships fall in love fall out of love dance sing tell stories suffer pain and disaster and then they die But – unlike our industrial age – they haven’t made a fetish of violence and they’ve recognized that you can’t live in a perpetual war against your environment I think it’s safe to say which society Le Guin prefers; and I agree with her Always Coming Home is probably not the place to start your love affair with Ursula It’s the type of thing you want to learn about after the first bloom has come off the romance but it’s all the better for being an expression of a mature loving relationship I should clarify here that I picked up my copy at a used book store and it didn’t have the accompanying cassettes of Kesh poetry and songs – an early example of interactive literature Anthropological Note The Condor People comprise the culture Le Guin contrasts to the Kesh primarily through Stone Telling’s story They’re a resurgence of the exploitative hierarchical patriarchal violent cultures of the past and the only thing that keeps them from becoming a greater threat to the cultures of the Inland Sea is that the world is too poor to support that type of society for very long

  4. Ian "Marvin" Graye Ian "Marvin" Graye says:

    A Pitch for GreatnessThis novel seems to be Ursula LeGuin’s pitch for credibility andor greatness not just as a science fiction writer but as a fully fledged novelist ie not confined to any one genreYou have to wonder whether the exhaustive and exhausting effort was worth it at least partly because I’d argue that she had already achieved her goal in 1969 with “The Left Hand of Darkness” My reservations largely relate to the dressings of Post Modernism that crept into the execution of the novel and in my opinion diminish its aspirations to greatnessNostalgia for An Age Yet to ComeLe Guin explains in “A First Note” that “The people in this book might be going to have lived a long long time from now in Northern California”I’m not sure what tense you’d call this but the catachresis hints at the fundamental premise of the novel Where relevant it is written in the past tense yet it is set in a future that seems to be based on archival fragments or reconstructions of a past that hasn’t happened yet Thus in the words of Pete Shelley it’s “nostalgia for an age yet to come”SistopiaIt’s not necessarily a Utopia or a Dystopia; it’s just an alternative world an idealised if only partly realised Sistopia which is sufficiently precisely drawn or invented on the basis of feminist and egalitarian perspectives and aspirations so as to allow us to comprehend it in anthropological detail and to compare and contrast it with our current world as well as past worlds or cultures As with any fiction Le Guin was dealing with invented fact whatever amount of imagination was reuired I occasionally wondered to what extent the detail was based on actual North American tribes studied by Le Guin or her anthropologist father The Smartasses of UtopianismIt could be argued that Le Guin was opposed to pure Utopianism especially if it was prescriptive “I never did like smartass utopianspeople who have the answers are boring niece Boring boring boring”Post Modern Information OverloadLeGuin elaborates on the structure of the novel “The main part of the book is their voices speaking for themselves in stories and life stories plays poems and songs” To this she adds family trees maps drawings music messages histories interviews a glossary an alphabet and a numerical system Some of this material is explicatory but most of it “The Back of the Book” in the manner of Post Modern maximalism is simply an anthropological information dump after the relevant narrative Thus unlike footnotes notes at the foot of the page to which they relate it doesn't inform the narrative except retrospectively “The Back of the Book consists largely of informationthings from here on will be just as fictional but factual although eually true” Whatever that means or signifiesMaking Up the WorldAs a literary work therefore most of it presents as the case notes of an anthropologist or ethnographer “making up the world” and documenting a tribe or culture they have encountered albeit it in the imagined future Hence the novel adopts the style of ethnography in its uest for self conscious metafictional verisimilitudeSistoryAbout only? 20% of the novel is the life story of a woman called “Night Owl” later “Stone Telling” and “Ayatyu” This is one of the few sections that is related in the first person so that we as readers are conscious of an “I” rather than a “we” or a “they” It’s only here that the social or cultural becomes personal or individual For the first time we become conscious of an ego rather than an abstract superego and therefore potential and actual conflict and confrontation with an other or the others The reserve in other sections of the text is a product of the Post Modern aversion to plot You have to wonder why Le Guin was tempted to go down this relatively self less pathNot Information But RelationWhile this method of story telling is conscious and deliberate overall it means that the novel lacks a second act let alone a third act and therefore a resolution As a result it lacks dramatic tension The fictional editor of the texts Pandora says “A book is an act; it takes place in time not just in space It is not information but relation”It’s difficult therefore to unreservedly recommend the novel to anybody but librarians archivists blind faith maximalists and enthusiasts of excess poor dears who might be interested in the cruft and detailClose RelationsFortunately most of the stories focus on relationships within the one people or between peoplesThe Kesh people of the novel live in the Na Valley of Northern California Our modern civilisation appears to have ended at least locally as the result of an earthuake andor rampant pollution although there are occasional hints that there has been a nuclear war an excess wreaked on the world by the military industrial complex The Kesh people are relatively benign “introverted but cooperative” although some of them are hunters and warriors if only for self defence from the Condor people of whom Night Owl’s father is a general making her a “half person” within the ranks of the KeshMother Superior Jumps the SharkIt seems that at least the Kesh have reconstructed some aspects of contemporary western civilisation eg guns electricity heating steam engines trains railroads surgery pharmaceuticals music books libraries the internet called the Exchange The warlike Condor people “these sick peopledestroying themselves” have retained or invented machine guns tanks planes cannons and hydrogen bombs They seem to have inherited the worst legacy of modern civilisation It isn’t explained why if they are this sophisticated in some areas they aren’t eually so in other aspects of science and technology At the very least none of these peoples is primitive even though they are farmers and engage in potlatch ceremoniesThe Condor people are extremely patriarchal “every relationship is a battle”; they “seemed never to decide things together never discussing and arguing and yielding and agreeing to do something before they did it” while the Kesh are slightly less so purporting to be matrilineal exogamous and matrilocal Nevertheless the women are confined to their household and rarely have the opportunity to develop skills other than gardening cooking cleaning weaving dressmaking and parentingWe see Night Owl struggle against these rigid customs in order to find her own identity and role in society including as a lover wife and mother Coming to BeStone Telling explains the status of women in these pessimistic terms “There is no way that men could make women into slaves and dependents if the women did not choose to be so”Again while feminist in intent we don’t see any particularly satisfactory resolution at least with respect to Stone Telling's marital relationship “I did not want his need of meI will not let his need eat up my life I must come to be myself by myself”Energy Liberty and GraceMuch of the inter tribal relationship continues to be patriarchal and subject to ongoing tensions and conflict which lead to theft disputes wars conuest murder and rape It’s not clear whether this is the legacy of the old military industrial complex that prevailed under the original ie our civilisation or whether there is a suggestion that these traits emerge in any advanced civilisation or culture If the latter then this might indeed shape Le Guin’s Dystopia despite her best efforts to posit something optimistic “In leaving progress to the machines in letting technology go forward on its own terms and selecting from it with what seems to us excessive caution modesty or restraint the limited though completely adeuate implements of their Kesh cultures is it possible that in thus opting not to move ‘forward’ or not only ‘forward’ these people did in fact succeed in living in human history with energy liberty and grace”The Smartass of ExcessCritic and placardist Tom LeClair devotes over thirty pages of forensic text analysis to this novel in “The Art of Excess” While he is an astute and detailed reader he leaves the impression that he approached the novel with a preconception that it would vindicate his theories of “the systext” “excess” “mastery” and maximalism when in fact the novel is a better example of a “sistext” His analysis seems to emerge from the delusions of confirmation bias rather than an open reading of the text itself Apparently reluctant to acknowledge that Le Guin does anything original as a female writer or otherwise he states that the novel “is a meta commentary on or reversal of certain features of the male created systext” He also asserts without much evidence or proof that “Le Guin intended Always Coming Home to be read as a direct reply to Gravity’s Rainbow”Unless LeClair has access to some private evidence that supports his opinion I would uestion it for two reasons firstly I believe that Pynchon wrote his own direct reply to “Gravity’s Rainbow” in “V” although the latter was published 10 years earlier his first three novels effectively constitute an internal dialogue between the male and the female Secondly I suspect that Le Guin wrote in response to all patriarchal structures including the most egregious of all Post Modern white male maximalist versions of the novel which would have addressed the systext had she been aware of the theoretical conceit beforehandDespite the profusion of detail and data I don’t read the novel as an endorsement of literary excess Le Guin says of the Kesh “What we consider both desirable and necessary they tended to consider a weakness and a needless risk replication multiplication ‘One note only in the wilderness’” Pandora elaborates in one of her poems at the end of the book “Written Sideways from the Valley to the City of Man” “No god no king no One no thingthat comes one at a timeno dupli repli multi identiplicationprolifer proliferation same after sameso no city Sorry”Instead the novel embraces anthropological method to describe a culture and tell a story within that cultureWorld ReductionTo uote Fredric Jameson it’s arguable that Le Guin aims for and achieves “a process of ontological attenuation in which the sheer teeming multiplicity of what exists of what we call reality is deliberately thinned and weeded out through an operation of radical abstraction and simplification which Jameson termed world reduction” Anthropology is just the lens through which the operation is observed It’s a vehicle for the “good deal of discrimination” that leads from keeping to givingNevertheless it allows us like Night Owl always to come home to the culture that is our own and perhaps to make changesVERSE RESPONSESMostly in the Words of Ursula Le GuinBeginningsHow could it begin once only?That doesn't seem sensibleThings must have endedAnd begun againSo that it can go onThe way people live and dieAll the people the stars alsoStill Coming BackSomething grew up hereSomething prettyAnother little thing sprouted thereThings began to grow rightThe water came out of the rocks clear againThe people began to come backThey are still coming backDates and EpochsYou talk all beginnings and endsSpring and ocean but no riverBeing in TimeOh North Owl who Will you be then?Who are you now?One SpiritMaybe in all thingsThere is one personOne spirit whom we greetIn the rock and the sunAnd trust in all thingsTo bless and helpMaybe the onenessOf the universeManifests that one spiritAnd the oneness of each beingOf the many kinds is a signOr a symbol of that one personPeople who say it is soCall that person the self of all selvesOr the other of all othersThe one eternal the godBeing is PraiseFrightened I will trust;Weak I will bless;Suffering I will liveHaving asked for helpI will be silent listeningI will serve no personAnd lock no doorSo Utterly GoneOne may listen stillBut all of the wordsOf their old languageAre gone utterlyUnutterablyFarther GoneWhich is farther gone?The dead or unborn?The Inner EarCould you hear voicesMein Herr SchliemannIn the streets of Troy?KnowledgeOur knowledge does not close a circle Or the void What we do not know remainsBoundless without limit or bottomWhat we know must share the ualityOf being known with what denies itWhat is seen with one eye has no depthI shut my eyes so that nobody would see meThinking and BelievingSome people are betterAt thinking thanAt believingWater SongThe bridge fallsThe river runsThe Condor callsThe Valley's sonsFire SongThe fire came over the rangeAnd went forward so fastThat even birds could not escape itThey fell burning from the airValley SongThe roots of the Valley areIn wildnessIn dreamingIn dyingIn eternityWind and FireHigh winds fanForest firesPieces of the ValleyPandora doesn't want to see the ValleyJewel bright distinct tiny and entireInstead what she gets is bits chunksFragments shards pieces of the valleyLifesize Not at a distance but in the hand To be felt and held and heardNot intellectual but mentalNot spiritual but heavyLet the mind draw its energyLet the heart complete the patternGoing Westward to the SunriseFollow the sun loveIn the western skiesCatch the sun againJust before sunriseBurial RitesA wisp of silvery ashesOr of the dead one's hairIs cast upward in the airAnd scatters round the gravesideButcher's FormulaIf you dieFor my needsI will giveYou my wordsIn returnA PebbleThe stoneContainsThe mountainThe World in a RockThe younger one of my sonsSaw the rock in the waterAnd picked it up saying A worldI told him to keep it in his heya boxWhich he did When he diedI put that rock back in the water of Moon CreekThe One Last WordIt was the last wordOf a lost sentenceIt was the one wordThat contained the worldVisible and invisibleOn this side and onThe other side of deathThe Universe SpeaksIt is with my voiceThat the universe speaksAnd the word I hear it speakWhen I listen is myselfFor Whom Bell TollsDeath is nothing to fearListen my wife If you're afraid to dieI'll do it for youI will die for youMy wifePuma GazeOnce I gave youA name in my heartDo you want toKnow what it was?LoveThe love in me lovedEverything he lovedDesireDesire unactedIs corruptionAngerThere is nothing but angerIn the house of angerMy Father's DaughterHe looked at me thenInstead of at his thoughtsAnd said my name North OwlI said Give me a nameHe said Do you want this nameAyatyu?I said My name is AyatyuEsiryuShe was my slaveWhom I obeyedLost PeopleLost people are dangerous;They do things without meaningSOUNDTRACKview spoilerJames Gang Ashes the Rain and I Le Guin Todd Barton Heron Dance Kesh Music from Always Coming Home Le Guin Todd Barton A River Song Le Guin Todd Barton A Music of the Eighth House Ash Leaf and Stream Feed the Tree Morrison Moondance Beatles Happiness Is A Warm Gun Nostalgia hide spoiler

  5. Joanne Joanne says:

    There are few books I have read none of them being fiction until now that have reuired such a concerted effort of study on my part to even read through the book If it wasn't Ursula I doubt I would have bothered But it was and I did and of course it was well worth the effortThe woman has created an entire culture I don't know when I will have enough time to create an entire culture in my own head and then write a novel about it but the fact that another woman had the time and did it is inspiration by itselfThe book is written in little tidbits a morsel here part of a story there then bits of poetry history explanations of various aspects of their society Besides a few flips to the back of the book for glossary explanations and then a few flips back near the front for the chart on the different houses of society I read it front to back It was tempting really tempting to skip ahead especially with Stone Telling's story being cut into three parts but I trusted Ursula's wisdom to teach me what I needed to know so that I could properly appreciate the next bit of the story as I got to it and I was not let downI thought the review on the cover was a bit much something about it being her best work yet but after finishing the book I just may have to agreeThe clever comparisons to our own societies are an immense banuet of food for thoughtAn easy read it is not But it is worth every minute you spend

  6. Kara Babcock Kara Babcock says:

    Why is it Ursula K Le Guin always makes my life as a reader and reviewer difficult? Her books can’t be nice straightforward stories—no she has to create lyric moving pieces of experimental literature that transcend our ordinary definitions of form and genre I have a problem with Always Coming Home but that problem is entirely independent of the book itself It is rather a result of me and my particular biases and hang upsI can’t help it I love novelsI know that as far as literature goes the novel is a relatively new invention— of a fad really than anything else And as much as it pains me to admit it studying novels really isn’t all that necessary when studying English As much as I would love as a teacher to sink my teeth into a great novel with a class and watch them explore it well at least in the limited time we’re allotted these days in the school calendar there are pressing concerns Literature isn’t the alpha and omega of English and the novel is not the only entry or exit into that particular part of the disciplineBut I can’t help it I’ll watch a play sure Read a short story? In a pinch Devour a novella during a car ride? Can do None of those satisfy the itch like a good well written honest to goodness novel Novels are my jam I crave semi linear narratives about a defined and stable group of peopleSo when Le Guin sets out to deliberately break—well shatter really—these conventions with something like Always Coming Home I can admire her aims even though I’m not particularly enthralled by the resultFar from a novel Always Coming Home is an intricate collection of texts by and for and about the Kesh a culture of people inhabiting a Pacific Northwest valley in the far future The editor of this volume has conducted an archaeology and anthropology of the future recovering texts interviewing inhabitants reproducing poems and songs and describing customs Le Guin separates out the driest of this into “The Back of the Book” an entirely academic section that explores the background of the society—its houses naming conventions marriage etc The remainder of the book is a medley of literary forms genres and conceitsThe most recognizably narrative sections are “Stone Telling” about an eponymous woman from the Valley whose father is from another people known as the Condor Unlike the Kesh the Condor people replicate the type of patriarchal society seen ad nauseum in human history Stone Telling’s father drops into her life when he visits the Valley and eventually she leaves the Valley to live among his people While she doesn’t necessarily regret it it’s clear that her time among the Condor people is not the highlight of her life Predictably for me I enjoyed these sections they are spread across the book but form a single narrative—Le Guin is aside from anything else a consummate storytellerI also enjoyed some of the other sections If you’re paying attention and on an airplane there is nothing to do with a book except pay close attention you can see the general outlines of the future world as Le Guin conceives it Humanity unleashes a combination of radiological and biological disasters—not as a single grand apocalypse like the twentieth century envisioned but the gradual and cumulative death that we embrace so far in the spectres of global warming and biodiversity collapse Our machines go on without us in the City of Mind replicating and bootstrapping themselves towards artificial godhead spreading out to other planets and stars Meanwhile humanity survives as a species if not a civilization rebuilding and restarting in various paradigms The Kesh seem at first brush “primitive” by our highly ethnocentric Western ideals Yet they have access to certain “modern” conveniences and in many ways their society is eual and better structured than oursLe Guin’s heritage as an anthropologist’s daughter informs all her work but it is overt in Always Coming Home The unconventional structure has the effect of reminding most of us that our tastes and perceptions of literature are to begin with highly Westernized and Eurocentric in their origins We have shed many of the traits of a predominantly oral culture and as a result we do not necessarily privilege poetry song and dance in the ways that we once did and other cultures still do In particular I thought a lot about Aboriginal cultures and storytelling traditions while I read this book I live somewhere with a large Aboriginal population and I’m interested in learning about Aboriginal cultures and storytelling At the same time it’s somewhat ironic for me to resolve to “read Aboriginal authored literature” because while that is a laudable goal it also makes certain suppositions about worthy ways to transmit cultureSo we come down to that eternal uestion for reviewers Do we review based on our perception of a book’s merit? If so Always Coming Home has a lot Or do we review based on our enjoyment of the book? In which case while I didn’t hate it this was a much lukewarm experience Both of these modes are eminently subjective of course—perceptions of merit can make no claim to objectivity than personal enjoyment But what do I want to say?Well once Le Guin astounds and impresses with her skill She is a juggernaut a force of literature not to be taken lightly and the world will be a darker place when she leaves it Always Coming Home only reaffirms these convictions in every sense This is a powerful intense complicated constructI didn’t like it that much It wasn’t the kind of book I wanted to read on my flights last weekSo if you go into this book unaware of its nature you will likely be disappointed or else really pleasantly surprised You have to be willing to explore and immerse yourself in this book at which point it will be rewarding Always Coming Home isn’t a novel never purports to be and I shouldn’t fault it for that Alas my fallible human nature means I can’t necessarily give it all the praise it deserves

  7. Curtainthief Curtainthief says:

    We are the Condor that seems clear And our self destruction is inevitable that seems even clear But maybe instead of total annihilation what we face is a new better way of life brought to us by people we now fear sometime after we implode Maybe the singularity will not be the moment our machines decide to destroy us but the moment they decide they are better off without us and so recede from society They may check in once in awhile Today I heard that we are currently spending 55 million dollars an hour on the war in Afghanistan We dispatch our Nestlings with assumed impunity while our journalists are either purchased wholesale or fed through a sausage grinder in some damp embassy basement But there is a valley somewhere west of here where the houses are hinged together and the people live in iyakwun with the world around them I walk in undyed clothing towards the sunset towards the valley Take my hand?

  8. Callum McAllister Callum McAllister says:

    Probably overlooked as an example of one of those Great Long Terribly Important Novels But it actually is one and not in the sense that people can simply claim it from its length and subject matter but because it really is I haven't read anything recently that so thoroughly challenged my notions of what a novel does what a novel should do and what it is for let alone what are appropriate choices in terms of style genre and form Also it was just enjoyable Not all of it A lot of was difficult and sometimes dull but a lot of it was clever and engaging and funny and astute and Ursula Le Guin was one of the greatest American writers of her generation easily

  9. Wealhtheow Wealhtheow says:

    Sort of an exercise in building a low tech society set after our industrial modern age The people of the Valley live a largely peaceful non hierarchical communal life that prioritizes listening and understanding and considers being generous synonymous with wealth The poor are those who do not give; giving makes one rich It's fascinating and I loved the ways the world building was woven into Stone Telling's story and how the world building sections hundreds of pages of an anthropologist's notes enriched my understanding of Stone Telling's sections That said the notes were so very long that at times I skimmed them This is not a novel and expecting it to follow the conventions of that form will lead to disappointment There's a fourteen page glossary several hundred pages of songs poems and novel excerpts from the Valley culture even extracts from the galactic computer system of the future about the Valley And there are wonderfully meta moments like this interchange between Pandora the anthropologist and her interview subject a librarian of the Valley people Pandora I never did like smartass utopians Always so much healthier and saner and sounder and fitter and kinder and tougher and wiser and righter than me and my family and friends People who have the answers are boring niece Boring boring boringArchivist But I have no answers and this isn't utopia auntPandora The hell it ain'tArchivist This is a mere dream dreamed in a bad time an Up Yours to the people who ride snowmobiles make nuclear weapons and run prison camps by a middle aged housewife a critiue of civilization possible only to the civilized an affirmation pretending to be a rejection a glass of milk for the soul ulcered by acid rain a piece of pacifist jeanjacuerie and a cannibal dance among the savages in the ungodly garden of the farthest WestPandora You can't talk that wayArchivist TruePandora Go sing heya like any savageArchivist Only if you'll sing with meThis is a complex work and I know I didn't get all of it if I read this many times I think I would understand something new or differently every time

  10. Valerie Valerie says:

    Though the introduction describes this as 'an archaeology of the future' it's no such matter It's an ETHNOLOGY of part of the future after the style of the Bureau of American Ethnology Reports to which LeGuin has no doubt had access for most of her life Most people who read LeGuin's works apparently are unaware that she is the daughter of the famous anthropologist AL Kroeber and of the writer Theodora Kroeber both of whom specialized in Northern Alta California AL Kroeber was a friend of Ishi last of the Yahi in his last years and Theodora wrote at least one biography of Ishi as well as several volumes of legends and folktales from the areaContrary to the comments of many reviewers I don't see much sign of any global catastrophe so far The story is set not in the current location of Northern Alta California but on an island in the North Pacific created during the normal processes of continental drift There may have been uite a few severe seismic events in the process the area is very seismically active after all But continuing processes were probably predominantThe island is not on any major shipping routes evidently and there may no longer be any widespread travel This may be because of one or pandemics since epidemiologists have repeatedly warned that our current culture of continuous mass migration is extremely dangerousThere is also evidently little in the way of mass communications though I seem to recall some later in The population is uite a bit less than present daybut there's mention of widely available contraceptives There are also electrical devices though few electronic ones that I can see There are floodlights for example but they're not used generally to saturate the night only for special festivals etcThe society in uestion is matrifocal NOT 'matriarchal' With the exception of the 'childish' almost exclusively male warrior societies there are no customs of unuestioning obedience Though there are normative customs such as 'people are not property' enforced by clowns there is little coercive behavior and pretty much EVERYTHING is the subject of negotiation and discussion There is kinship from both sides Stone Teller is regarded as a halfling because she has no paternal grandparents to call on and at one point acuires a 'side grandfather' to help in not only ceremonies but also in material support but the primary kinship is through the mother There is also a culture of adoptionThere's a trace of homophobia at least in the early parts The warrior societies are regarded as fairly childish because of their authoritarian and violent tendencies and because they are almost exclusively male But I didn't catch at first that one of the insults leveled against them is that they are presumed accurately or not to be homosexuals There's no necessary connection between homosexuality and childishness even in the book but at least one of the characters implies such a connection She herself is viewed somewhat askance as being prejudiced but she's not argued withThis is a rich and long book and should probably be read in short segments with a chaser I've recently acuired some new Wodehouse books so I'll use them as interfilers until I finish them Then I'll have to pick something else because Wodehouse is a uick read I'll add on this book as I go on but it'll likely take a while to read When I tried it at first I didn't get than about halfway in I hope that by rationing it out I can finish it this time If you do read the book from beginning to end in seuence you run into problems at first as things are foreshadowed but not explained until later There's uite a careful attempt to avoid observer bias by presenting things from several perspectives It's middling successful but it's often strained as people try to put themselves in other roles and find themselves unable to leave their own perspectives completely behindThe island in the book has not gotten very far in its progress into the North Pacific Well after all it's only been about 50000 years a millisecond by geological reckoning It has a Mediterranean climate wet winters and dry summers with virtually no snow except at the highest altitudes The flora and fauna are mixed at one point the partially hidden narrator comments that the grass for example was introduced by Spanish Mexican but Mexico was still under Spanish rule at the time missionaries This is possible but not certain There are grasses in Alpine meadows in the mountain ranges bifurcated by the rifts but they may not be native and they probably aren't Bermuda shortgrass or the other shortgrasses introduced by the missionaries There's an oddly gappy ecosystem Bats for example are mentioned at one point but not elaborated Honeybees are mentioned but native bees are not Honeybees pioneered the area about fifty years ahead of Europeans following the clover which was also introduced at that time But in no place did they completely replace native bees and as of the present time it's not likely that they will I don't much care for the sublimation and displacement of violence The representation of violence as a childish behavior disciplined and restricted even in children and socialized out of adults by shame and gossip doesn't really resolve the problem And while several people admit often in shame that they don't really fit into their society the tongue tied the maladroit the lazy and the tone deaf too often become 'forest living' because they can't participate in the society fully even if they want to and though this defection is marginally accepted it's apparent that it too rarely occurs to people just to leaveThe traumatic changes that occurred to the world during the interim between our time and that depicted are pretty clearly not one common disaster There are references to 'poisoned' places but these seem to be mostly landfills including nuclear waste dumps and defunct nuclear reactors The people are inbred and subject to all manner of congenital and environmental illnesses some are pretty clearly both The incest taboos which seem extreme by our standards many of the forbidden people are what we would call 'kissing cousins' are probably at least partly an attempt to temper the results of the inbreedingThe society as represented is a self exiled part of a larger society that is in some ways advanced than ours technologically The computer systems which are literally and figuratively subterranean in the isolated society are described as engaged in a massive experiment trying to model the cosmos though it's not clear what the computers and their attendants hope to gain thereby But even or perhaps particularly this complex is far from monolithic and such self exiled communities may be common in the solar system at the time Like such enclave communities in our own societies Mennonite communities are the most obvious but there are 'ethnic' communities in other places which have a strong element of tourism but do genuinely maintain a separate identity the people of 'the Valley' select what technologies they will use and innovate on They have solar powered looms and pedal powered ones most likely They have electricity but they don't always use it It's not clear what kind of hot water systems they have in some places it seems to be geothermal hot springs and suchlike At one point it becomes positively abhorrent to a librarian there's a repeated ceremonial purging of libraries and archives Often a literal bookburning Though the narratives recipe books etc are not fully lost the computer archives keep copies which are however very poorly indexed still this perennial destruction even with recycling of history is disturbing LeGuin recognizes something that most people in our society aren't conscious of the indecent almost obscene haste we live our lives in There's too much hurry in everything indeed it's one of our predominant causes of injury and stress The people in the stories and observations have made and are still making a conscious attempt to slow things down The fact that their primary compliment is 'mindful' is important Slapdash haste causes all kinds of ills the deaths and injuries attributable to sleep deprivation alone are so common that unless we make a deliberate effort we can't even notice them The people in the book blame a lot of their ills on the haste as well as the simple massive numbers of their ancestors And there's uite a bit of justice in that assessment as there was when the indigenous peoples blamed the plagues that swept through them on the arrival of often literally unclean Europeans pouring into their landsMinor linguistic note The name 'Shinshan' kept nibbling at my mind and finally I tracked it down Looking up 'Tsimshian' I found that they lived among other places in the 'Na'a' valley I don't think this is a deliberate gloss I think it was just one of those odd bits of unconnected data that float around in our minds and alight on the page when we're looking for a name for something

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Always Coming Home[PDF / Epub] ☀ Always Coming Home By Ursula K. Le Guin – Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home is a major work of the imagination from one of America's most respected writers of science fiction More than five years in the making it is a novel unlike any other Ursula Le Guin's Always Coming Home is a major work of the imagination from one of America's most respected writers of science fiction More than five years Always Coming PDF/EPUB ² in the making it is a novel unlike any other A rich and complex interweaving of story and fable poem artwork and music it totally immerses the reader in the culture of the Kesh a peaceful people of the far future who inhabit a place called the Valley on the Northern Pacific Coast.

About the Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

Ursula K Le Guin published twenty two novels eleven volumes of short stories four collections of essays twelve books for children six volumes of poetry and four Always Coming PDF/EPUB ² of translation and has received many awards Hugo Nebula National Book Award PEN Malamud etc Her recent publications include the novel Lavinia an essay collection Cheek by Jowl and The Wild Girls She lived in Portland Orego.