The Telling (Hainish Cycle)
By Ursula K. LeGuin; Performed by Gabra Zackman
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
6 discs; 7 hours [UNABRIDGED]
Themes: / Hainish / planets / libraries / storytelling / alien races / pilgrimage /
Once a culturally rich world, the planet Aka has been utterly transformed by technology. Records of the past have been destroyed, and citizens are strictly monitored. But an official observer from Earth named Sutty has learned of a group of outcasts who live in the wilderness. They still believe in the ancient ways and still practice its lost religion — the Telling. Intrigued by their beliefs, Sutty joins them on a sacred pilgrimage into the mountains…and into the dangerous terrain of her own heart, mind, and soul.
When I first started listening to The Telling, I didn’t realize it was in the same universe as The Dispossessed and The Left Hand of Darkness, in fact I didn’t know those two books were related either. This story takes place in a loosely related world, but on a new planet. Sutty has been sent to collect the printed historical record, but arrives to discover most of it has been destroyed. Her own life on Terra was destroyed when her lover was killed by drones, and being sent to Aka may or may not be a way to push her out of the way of normal life. Along the way she finds out about a practice called “The Telling,” that is more than just an oral storytelling tradition. The story is concise although it ends a little too abruptly to understand what will happen in the future on Aka. I’m not convinced Sutty has as much power as she thinks she has to effect change.
The reader, Gabra Zackman, does a nice job, although the sounds made during the tellings sounded a little like orgasms. Maybe they were supposed to.
Posted by Jenny Colvin
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