Read The Eye of the Heron by Ursula K. Le Guin Virginia Kidd Online


The savage, lawless prison world is called Victoria. The arriving exiles, sworn to nonviolence, are called the People of the Peace. Brutalized and dominated by the City criminals, the People would have broken vows and shed blood if not for one bold young woman. Her name is Luz, and she leaves her City father to lead the People on a perilous quest to discover a world of hopThe savage, lawless prison world is called Victoria. The arriving exiles, sworn to nonviolence, are called the People of the Peace. Brutalized and dominated by the City criminals, the People would have broken vows and shed blood if not for one bold young woman. Her name is Luz, and she leaves her City father to lead the People on a perilous quest to discover a world of hope within this world of chaos...a place they will call Heron....

Title : The Eye of the Heron
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780553242584
Format Type : Mass Market Paperback
Number of Pages : 179 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Eye of the Heron Reviews

  • Lisa Butterworth
    2019-03-25 02:23

    This was just a tiny little novel, but just packed with stuff I love. Individual characters, compelling and interesting, but also embodying different political dogmas, the plot itself so packed with inherent symbolism that it shouldn't have been so light and natural. All coming together in a clean fast believable push through another world with the goal of freedom. It was beautiful.

  • Nikki
    2019-04-02 01:24

    Ursula Le Guin's The Eye of the Heron looks like an easy, short book. My copy is quite slim, the writing is a reasonable size, and the prose is as polished as hers always is, and it's easy to read. There are some absolutely amazing quotes, that I loved to read just for the perspective she always brings to the discussion. These are the ones that struck me the most (in parts of them, description has been taken out to make them more universal).a. "You know, if we sit in the back room, with babies or without babies, and leave all the rest of the world to the men, then of course the men will do everything and be everything. Why should they? They're only half the human race. It's not fair to leave them all the work to do. Not fair to them or us. Besides," and she smiled more broadly, "I like men very much, but sometimes... they're so stupid, so stuffed with theories... They go in straight lines only, and won't stop. It's dangerous to do that. It's dangerous to leave everything up to the men, you know. [...:] I get worried they'll go too fast and too straight and get us into a place we can't get out of, a trap. You see it seems to me that where men are weak and dangerous is in their vanity. A woman has a center, is a center. But a man isn't, he's a reaching out. So he reaches out and grabs things and piles them up around him and says, I'm this, I'm that, this is me, that's me, I'll prove that I'm me! And he can wreck a lot of things, trying to prove it."b. "If you marry a man like that and live his life, then I agree. You may not really want to hurt people, but you will.""That is hateful. Hateful! To say it that way. That I haven't any choice, that I have to hurt people, that it doesn't even matter what I want.""Of course it matters, what you want.""It doesn't. That's the whole point.""It does. And that's the whole point. You choose. You choose whether or not to make choices."c. "If I don't speak truth I can't seek truth."d. "It takes courage to really be a woman, just as much as to be a man. It takes courage to really be married, and to bear children, and to bring them up."What I also find interesting is Ursula Le Guin's sympathy and understanding of all her characters. It would be easy to dismiss "Boss Falco", not intentionally being unsympathetic to that side of the divide, but not feeling that he has anything valid to say and so just letting him be a cypher. He isn't, there are some bits of his characterisation which break my heart a little.It's interesting that I found what would happen quite hard to predict. Not that it didn't make sense, but that one has certain expectations from a book like this: that the People of Peace will simply prevail right away, like because their way is right it is the only possibly outcome; that Lev and Luz will prevail and get together; that Boss Falco will be irredeemable... And it doesn't always happen the way you expect.The worldbuilding in itself is lovely. I liked the "wotsits", and the ringtrees. It is also easy to just make other worlds other earths, and this doesn't happen in The Eye of the Heron.This in no way covers all my feelings about this book. I think Ursula Le Guin has said some lovely things in it, and I may have to reread it. It isn't as easy as it would seem, either. Sometimes I had to put it down to think through what a certain part is trying to say. It's a good thing.A warning, though, that this is not so much a novel in which things happen, as a novel in which things are thought. There are actions and consequences and all of that, but I don't think that is the most important thing.

  • Robert
    2019-04-17 21:15

    The people of the City arrived on the planet Victoria by one-way spaceship, exiled from Earth, convicted criminals. Many years later the People of the Peace arrive in the last such spaceship, also exiled, but by choice. They form a town and call it Shantih, but the people of the City call it Shanty - deftly contrasting the views of the City folk and the townfolk. Over time the People of the Peace have become the peasants of a feudal society in microcosm but now confrontation is coming. The People of the Peace apply their principles of nonviolent non-co-operation. Where will the confrontation lead the colonists of Victoria to? THIS REVIEW HAS BEEN CURTAILED IN PROTEST AT GOODREADS' CENSORSHIP POLICYSee the complete review here:

  • Michael Campbell
    2019-03-27 18:16

    I literally just bought this book, because it had the name Ursula K Le Guin on it. I didn't even read the synopsis before starting it. I know you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover, but this book proves you shouldn't judge one by it's size either. It covered so much in such a small book. Literally less than 200 pages with fairly large lettering.Gender roles are explored and discussed somewhat, but the real meat of the novel is the study on pacifism. I've read other books that attempted to study the subject, but I always felt the author was too obviously for or against the philosophy. This is not the case in this novel. Ursula K Le Guin does exceptionally well contrasting an anarchistic society with an authoritarianism society as well. The world building is also brilliant, but this is the case in every Ursula K Le Guin novel I've read. Character depth was also incredibly well done for such a short novel. Ursula K Le Guin is just so brilliant that it physically hurts, and I'm most likely going to read everything she's ever written.

  • Julia Morelli
    2019-03-30 20:14

    I took a while to review this book because it was hard to rate. It's a solidly good book, but I get the feeling that it ended at an odd point.As usual in Le Guin's work, although the story takes place in a futuristic sci-fi enviroment the focus is on people, their feelings, their beliefs, etc. I love this about her writing, can't get tired of it really. This story takes place on a jail-planet where no one can leave, decades after the first colones/prisioners arrived. Due to spoilery motives, a movement of pacifists was also exiled to the planet and arrived after the first group of colones. The social issues raised from this and the extremely opposite points of view of both communities are amazing. Characters have a hard time understanding the other's point of view and things really get out of control, to a point I hadn't read before in Le Guin's stories.I do get the feeling that the story ended at a strange point - if it had ended before it would've been perfect, and slightly later it could've been more interesting since some characters could've done with a better shaped ending. Still, the story's development is flawless and the book probably got to me a bit more than usual because of a very accurate portrayal of latinamerican cultures. A very interesting read overall, with extra flavor for latinamerican readers.

  • Zübeyir
    2019-03-30 22:17

    "İki ayak üstünde durup, iki de elimiz olunca insan olmuyoruz. Ayaklarımız üzerine sağlam basıp düşüncelere ve ülkülere sahip olunca, oluyoruz! Ve bu ülkülere sıkı sıkıya bağlı kalınca. Birlikte. Tek başımıza yaşayamayız. Yoksa tek başımıza ölürüz - hayvanlar gibi. "

  • Roger
    2019-04-08 23:19

    Reading Ursula K Le Guin is like coming in from a very cold day to a snug house and eating a warm slice of cherry pie with a glass of milk. The Eye of the Heron was written in 1978, but nearly four decades later it is still not only intensely relevant but eerily prophetic. Le Guin's writing is wonderfully evocative-she is able to build an entire alien world with its' own ecology and society in less than one hundred and eighty pages. To borrow a word from another reviewer she writes with "clarity." She tells an interesting story with an economy of prose-two distinctly different sets of exiles with very different approaches to life are permanently marooned on what is tantamount to an extraterrestrial penal colony. The City dwellers essentially think of the Farmers as serfs rather than free men, and are itching to commit acts of repression and violence. The Farmers are the opposite: non-violent people who just want to start a new colony and do not recognize the assumed authority of City dwellers. Note that the labor of the Farmers is what allows the City dwellers to eat. Conflict ensues.

  • Ryan Rebel
    2019-04-06 21:38

    Of the three Ursula K. Le Guin books I read in quick succession, this was my least favorite. I didn't particularly love any of them, although I did enjoy A Wizard of Earthsea. It was much more, shall we say, exciting than The Eye of the Heron.It's not that it's an awful book. I don't quite know what went wrong, but whatever it was, it severely hampered my enjoyment. I would say that I was bored with this book, although it had its moments. I couldn't even tell you what bored me--the concept was interesting, and there were good themes at play. Something just fell flat for me. Not to mention that the ending seemed abrupt and unsatisfying.Maybe part of it was the world they were living in. One of my favorite parts was when she described the odd behavior of the local trees--the ringtrees. They had an interesting, mystical air about them. However, it was never capitalized upon. The alien environment played less of a role than it should have, I think.

  • Mira
    2019-03-24 02:37

    Eerie and magical. There was something about the atmosphere throughout the entire book... It's hard to put into words, but oh boy did I enjoy it.

  • Alina
    2019-04-20 21:32

    Another insightful novella, packed with politics, human rights, gender and class discrimination, philosophy and very sensorial descriptions.Quite a good and quick read.

  • Kelsey
    2019-03-28 21:39

    Inspiring view on nonviolent resistance- for the sake of conscience, and the answer being to adjust what you may classify as 'successful.'

  • Ivan Lutz
    2019-04-20 19:32

    Iznenadila me mala knjižica. Lijepo je naglašeno što to vrijedi a što ne vrijedi u vremenu koje nam je dano. Čak na dijelovima Ursula esejistički pristupa temi pa je tu njezin osobni stav malo prekrio radnju romana(ali odlično se uklopilo i ne smeta). Ovo bi trebali pročitati svi oni koji misle da se bore za nešto ili protiv nečega; oni koji ne znaju udvagnuti kada se prestati boriti i što učiniti kada vlast, birokracija, ili bilo koja "acija" podigne zid pred nama. O teškoj temi slobode, pisati tako jasno, jednostavno i snažno, može samo ona.

  • Onefinemess
    2019-03-28 00:15

    This is one of the weaker - if not the the weakest - LeGuin book that I've yet read.Not to see that it was bad, just that I found myself skimming more than usual and just a little bored. About halfway through I knew that the way the book ended would seal it as either terrible or passable, as it looked like it was heading in one of two ways, both of which I found to be a little too simplistic. Thankfully, she didn't take either of those paths and so I wasn't quite disappointed...just a little bored.The world had great potential out of the gate, but she didn't do much with it. The focus here was on the characters with a little on politics, gender roles and cultural baggage (?). I wasn't sure what LeGuin's position on non-violent resistance was going into it, so I wasn't sure exactly where she was going. The initial MC is certainly foreshadowed to either fail or succeed spectacularly - each of which would have spoke to the two sides of that coin. Instead, she takes an ambling middle road, which is closer to how I feel about it, and made for a more emotionally and politically interesting story.That said, the resolution was kinda "literary" in the sense that it left more things open than I'd like from a (rather short) book like this.THREE STARSWorth reading if you're a fan or just want something quick, but not awesome.Note: There is a neat bit about her writing process on this book (that has a major spoiler) that puts things into a better context for me, but I have to agree with another bit on that wiki page - it's one of her "minor" works.

  • Emily
    2019-03-25 18:21

    Le Guin has developed yet another “peaceful” society on another planet. This one, though, originated on Earth many years into our future. The Victoria Settlement was at first a penal colony, but about 50 years later The People of the Peace were sent. Obviously, there’s a lot of conflict between the two groups. The latest confrontation has arisen because the Peace People would like to start another settlement. The criminal descendants don’t want to let them go because they do a lot of the menial labor and farming. The People are committed to non-violence, but the others embrace it. The dilemma becomes how to get what they want without anyone getting hurt. This is a largely philosophical novel, though not completely lacking in action. I would have liked for it to have gone on longer and explored the aftermath of the conflict’s “resolution.” I have been reading a lot of LeGuin lately, and it seems to me that she enjoys creating a complex society of peaceful people and then putting them in situations where their values are tested. I wonder if she is doing serial thought experiments, trying to come up with a possible utopian society. It’s interesting to think about because all of her peaceful societies have some values in common, but different structures. It’s endlessly fascinating to me, but I can see how some might get bored of reading them in succession.

  • İpek Sayrak
    2019-04-01 21:16

    "...Cunku her seyi erkekler yönetiyordu. Her seyi kendilerine göre yapiyorlardi. Ve yasli kadinlarin hepsi de onlarin tarafindaydi. Bu yüzden de bir kiz sehrin sokaklarinda tek basina yuruyemezdi cünkü sarhos bir isci serefini zedeleyebilirdi ve, ya adam, bu olaydan sonra hapse atilirsa veya kulaklari kesilirse? Ne faydasi olurdu ya! Kizin itibari iki paralik olurdu. Cunku bir kizin itibari demek, erkeklerin onun hakkinda ne dusundukleri demekti. Erkekler her seyi dusunurdu, her seyi yapardi, her seyi yönetirdi, her seyi meydana getirirdi, yasalari yapar, yasalari bozar, yasalari bozanlari cezalandirirdi, ve kadinlara hicbir yer kalmazdi, kadinlar icin bir Sehir yoktu. Hicbir yer, tek baslarina kaldiklari kendi odalarindan baska hicbir yer." Ursula LeGuin'in diger kitaplari gibi bu kitabi da cok guzeldi. Her satirini okurken kendi dusuncelerini buluyor insan. Tek bir elestirim olacak, o da kitabin cok kisa olmasi, yetmedi bana:) Olaylari biraz daha acarak isleseydi daha bile guzel olurmus. Gene de siddetle tavsiye ediyorum.

  • Mario
    2019-04-02 01:30

    Creo que tenía muchas expectativas con Le Guin. Cuando leo ciencia ficción espero "ciencia ficción", espero una historia que me lleve a otras dimensiones, a cosas que no me habría imaginado antes, a cosas que desafíen mis conocimientos de la ciencia en general. Comprendo que existen (muchos) autores que pretenden exponer sus ideales morales, espirituales, políticos, y demás, por medio de la literatura de fantasía; estaría muy bien que además de esos ideales le agregara algo más de "ciencia". Asimov no tuvo ese problema, ni Dick, ni Herbert, ni Clarke... es decir, expusieron sus ideas pero les agregaron ese plus que los convirtió en grandes escritores (y profetas) de la ciencia ficción. Para este fin, mejor leo directamente a Gandhi, Henry David Thoreau y Ayn Rand.

  • Coeli
    2019-03-27 20:25

    I can't believe that I'm only reading Ursula K. LeGuin now. This grave mistake shall be duly rectified.

  • Rebeccameder
    2019-04-05 22:21

    It felt like the whole book was just setting up the premise for a story that never happened.

  • William Leight
    2019-03-23 02:35

    All novels are political in some sense: as Orwell said, "all art is propaganda . . . ." The second half of that statement is that "not all propaganda is art", and that's the danger for any novelist wishing to write an explicitly political novel. All too often, what you end up with is a rather obvious allegory, in which the good guys are entirely good and inevitably correct and the bad guys completely evil and always wrong. This trick is difficult enough to pull off in an epic fantasy setting where readers have a certain amount of tolerance for it, and even there, it's best avoided. (What makes Frodo a character you can root for, for instance, is that he is not 100% good and right: the Ring is clearly corrupting him as "The Lord of the Rings" proceeds, leading up to his attempting to claim its power for himself. If Frodo were so good that the Ring could have no effect on him, "The Lord of the Rings" would be almost as unreadable as most of the works put out by Tolkien's many less-talented imitators.) In a setting where the reader is more likely to expect recognizably human characters, the descent into allegory can cripple even the likes of C.S. Lewis: rereading the Narnia books as an adult, you realize that the protagonists can do nothing on their own -- they inevitably require Aslan's assistance -- which would cripple your enjoyment even without the additional realization that Aslan is a stand-in for Jesus. (Of course, only a century or so ago practically every literate Englishman had read "The Pilgrim's Progress" and quite likely "The Faerie Queene" as well: allegory is just another of the many victims of modernism.) Or, for that matter, Ursula K. Le Guin. In the early '70s, Le Guin, inspired by her disgust for the Vietnam War, wrote "The Word for World is Forest", probably her least successful novel. Its allegorical nature is a little too obvious: the good guys, the natives of the planet Athshe, live in harmony with all living things, eschew war, capitalism, and tyranny, and generally enjoy a utopian existence until the arrival of the humans, who are almost all brutal, patriarchal, warlike, and greedy. The lines are clearly drawn, every character is placed precisely on the side where they belong, and nobody does anything particularly surprising. Le Guin does raise some questions about the brutality of the Athsheans, once roused, and what their first war has done to their culture, but these are second-order issues. (To be fair, part of the problem might be that the novel is an expanded version of a shorter work: this kind of expansion often ends up burdening the original story with more than it can really handle.) On the other hand, Le Guin has also shown herself capable of writing a novel pitting two peoples with distinct political philosophies against each other without allegory, most prominently in "The Dispossessed": as the subtitle indicates, Le Guin is writing here about "A Questionable Utopia", and her willingness to question the utopia of Anarres, while making its opposite, Urras, an ordinary late-capitalist society, rather than a dystopic representation of everything she dislikes about 20th-century America, makes the book's greatness possible."The Eye of the Heron" lies in between these two extremes, but thankfully closer to "The Dispossessed". At first, the idea of a conflict between the Town, a colony founded by a group of people devoted to the ideas of peace and nonviolence, and the City, a colony of convicts with a patriarchal, might-makes-right attitude, seems likely to fall into a highly predictable pattern, but Le Guin has something more interesting in mind. Just because you believe in peace and nonviolence doesn't mean that you can't be overly arrogant and all too eager for a confrontation: conversely, even the dictatorial leader of the City, no matter how completely convinced of his and his culture's superiority, can still be a real person with real feelings. If Le Guin's sympathies are clear, she can nonetheless see the weaknesses of the Town and even the strengths of the City. And while the old-fashioned attitudes of the leaders of the City are certainly deplorable, the blind self-righteousness of some of the leaders of the Town, entirely certain that if they follow the path of non-violence exactly as they were taught, they are guaranteed to succeed, proves to be dangerous as well. If Le Guin doesn't come down on the side of the faction of the Town that calls for compromise, she makes us see why such a thing might be preferable to an open confrontation, regardless of the non-violent plans of those responsible for such a confrontation. In the end, our heroine, Luz Marina (a woman of the City who moves to the Town, she bridges both cultures), chooses a course -- essentially, running away -- which does not hew to that recommended by the ideologues of either side. The advantage of opting to just leave is that it reflects the fact that the book is set on a world that is not Earth: instead of recapitulating the patterns laid down on the mother world, Luz Marina is trying to take advantage of the newness of her surroundings to make something new. On the other hand, it is also a course that doesn't really resolve the Town-City conflict: the entire Town isn't likely to relocate, and even if it did, the City would inevitably follow. In a way, though, this is the most honest way to end the book, if even if it feels inconclusive: after all, nobody really knows how to resolve the Town-City conflict, or even if it can be resolved. (Of course, this is, in a sense, precisely what science fiction is for, but the prosaic facts of the writing business got in the way this time: "The Eye of the Heron" was written for an anthology of stories by and about women, which is presumably why it clocks in at just under 200 pages. To really work through the Town-City conflict, as well as the impact of the new world on its resolution, it would probably have to be at least twice as long. Which would be great! But at this point, it's not too likely.)A minor note: the cover of my version has an actual heron on it, which would be fine except that the heron of the title is not an Earth heron, but an only vaguely similar creature found on the world of Victoria, where the book is set. Which matters because every time a character in the book encounters a "heron", they are actually encountering the alien strangeness of the world on which they find themselves, and are being encouraged to think and live in new ways. So having a picture of an ordinary heron on the cover is basically 100% opposed to the book's message.

  • Lydia
    2019-03-25 19:19

    I adore Ursula Le Guin, and I was excited to discover this book I'd never heard of before. There was a lot to love about it as far as complicated characters, interesting society and world building, and the gorgeous, thoughtful writing I expect from Le Guin. BUT, it felt like practice for The Dispossessed, which to my mind, is a FAR superior novel just for the ideas she toys with in Eye of the Heron but brings to fruition in The Dispossessed. Her thoughts about the complexity of anarchism and pacifism versus a capitalist or feudal system are more complicated in TD, more fleshed out, and less black and white than EOTH. I also like the characters more in the other book, and for some reason that's hard to put a finger on, this book is just dull in places. It never seems to build to anything, but just peters out. From the dust jacket and first chapter, I was expecting more of a 'voyage of exploration' story, and that didn't really happen, except a few tantalizing bits, so I was bummed about that also. Eye of the Heron is worth reading for the couple sparks of Le Guin brilliance if you're a die hard fan like me, but if not, give it a miss and get your hands on a copy of The Dispossessed ASAP!

  • Miss Karen Jean Martinson
    2019-04-11 19:39

    When vowing to read more fiction, why not begin with the woman Margaret Atwood described as "One of the literary greats of the 20th century"? I had not read Le Guin before, and I have been missing out. This piece is quite short and seemingly simple, but it is masterful and impactful. What I loved best was how she made clear the divide between the City Bosses and the Shantih Towners was not solely one of power, or of views of gender, or of wealth, or of a relationship with the land, but as a deep cultural divide. Their fundamental understanding of self and other - around which their separate societies were constructed - was drastically different, despite their proximity and interconnectedness. By all counts, it seemed impossible to bridge, but for the fact that human beings (occasionally) have the extraordinary ability to form connections and make surprising choices. These require a special kind of bravery, but also heart-wrenching sacrifice. As her depiction of Luz makes clear, moments of change are never clear-cut, easy, or even agreed-upon. We should gaze deeply into that ambiguity and complexity.

  • P.A. Pursley
    2019-03-29 22:30

    Ursula Le Guin has a beautiful way of taking the world we live in and twisting it so that you get a totally different view of it from a totally different planet. Although this book was not my favorite of her's, it is still a beautiful story of war and peace and the bigotry that divides people. This is the story of Lev who lives with the People of Peace. They want only to be free of the City people who use them as their own personal servants. Lev is only willing to obtain their release through peace. But one of the people of the City has a non-peaceful way of doing things and means to keep the People of Peace as slaves any way he can. If you like sci-fi with a good moral - this book is for you!

  • Gumbo Ya-ya
    2019-04-05 22:25

    The Eye of the Heron is the most overtly preachy Le Guin book that I've read thus far. The themic matter is ham-fisted and the world-building and characters both suffer in deference to the book's need to deliver a particular message, or maybe just to dwell on it. That seems more apt as the story doesn't really seem to move in the way that other Le Guin works from the same era do, but rather to huddle down into the dirt and ruminate. Certainly not a waste of time -The Eye of the Heron is still awash with Le Guin's flowing charm- but it lacks the cohesion I have found in some of her other work.

  • Alexandra
    2019-03-23 19:12

    It reads like a rough draft, or a vehicle for an ideology, rather than an exploration. Even the most relatable characters feel hastily sketched.Most disappointing is that Le Guin opens and closes the book with some lovely, organic world-building that's absent in the rest of the book, where exposition about Victoria's history is introduced with all the dryness of a high school history reader.I'd love to read the novel this could have been if the setting was better developed.

  • Joni Kettunen
    2019-03-29 18:29

    Ajatuksia herättävä pieni kirja, joka ilmiselvästi nostaa esiin kommunikaatio-ongelmia kulttuurien välillä. Sen lisäksi se pohtii mitä vaihtoehtoja löytyy konfliktien ratkaisemiseksi.Ideoiden ja avointen kysymysten jättäminen avoimiksi, ilman ruusunpunaisia ratkaisuja nostavat kirjan arvoa. Ajatusten kirja.

  • Kaye
    2019-04-21 00:36

    This was a lovely little story. Two groups of people sent from Earth on a one-way trip to another planet have made a life on this new planet. The characters are made real through their struggles. The search for freedom continues even here.

  • Irene Grumman
    2019-03-25 18:12

    Not exactly a heron, because we're not exactly on Earth. Issues of power and identity play out yet again in a small community on a big, empty planet. A Le Guin work I hadn't encountered before, copyright 1978, "Heron" reflects contemporary concerns in feminism.

  • Kainxviii
    2019-04-17 02:31

    Another social experiment from Le Guin, feels a little too artificial to me, but still good!

  • Trimid Lanns
    2019-04-18 21:13

    "Force is the weapon of the weak"

  • Brett
    2019-04-20 21:19

    This is an engrossing short novel. If you love Le Guin, you'll enjoy this.