Saturday, March 01, 2014

Ursula Leguin. Orsinian Tales (1976)

    Ursula  Leguin. Orsinian Tales (1976) Leguin’s tales sketch an outline history of Orsinia: a central/east European country at the mercy of its more powerful neighbours to the east and west. Leguin’s skill at evoking a whole culture makes these more like documents than fictions, and like documents, we are somewhat distanced from the characters. In this, she reminds me of Mavis Gallant, but Gallant’s stories have the ring of experienced truth, while Leguin’s feel more like case histories. But both exhibit a certain ruthlessness: both external and internal forces construct a person’s fate. There’s no Hollywood-style happy endings here. ** to *** (2012)

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