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Orsinian Tales [Paperback]

Ursula K. Le Guin
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Paperback, 29 Jun 1978 --  


Product details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Grafton; New edition edition (29 Jun 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0586047352
  • ISBN-13: 978-0586047354
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.4 x 1.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,856,599 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ursula Le Guin has won many awards, including a National Book Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Harold D. Vursell Memorial Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, a Newbery Honor and the World Fantasy Award For Life Achievement.

Product Description

Synopsis

The universal need for human freedom and love and the horrors of government oppression are recurring themes in this collected short fiction. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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THEY knew, having given him cause, that Dr Kereth might attempt to seek political asylum in Paris. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A wonderful, poetic read 20 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Le Guin's series of stories spanning the chronology of an imaginary central European country from the middle ages to the days of the iron curtain is beautifully written, wonderfully realised, and utterly memorable. Every phrase of le Guin's elegant, measured prose leaves vivid images in the reader's mind. An unfortunately obscure gem.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute gem of a book 20 May 2002
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Le Guin's series of stories spanning the chronology of an imaginary central European country from the middle ages to the days of the iron curtain is beautifully written, wonderfully realised, and utterly memorable. Every phrase of le Guin's elegant, measured prose leaves vivid images in the reader's mind...
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another Country 4 July 2012
By Pensato
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A subtle collection of tales set in a fictional country, somewhere in Central Europe (I was reminded in part of Prague in the city descriptions but also Slovenia) and set at different dates throughout history from 1130 to 1965. Political events are alluded to (clearly an authoritarian regime is in place post-WWII) but the emphasis is always on 'ordinary' humans and their extraordinary feelings. Destinies are seized, lost or simply endured. The characters come beautifully to life in Le Guin's limpid prose.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  11 reviews
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A new Ruritania emerges. 8 July 2004
By Maximiliano F Yofre - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ms Le Guin is a renowned sci-fi and fantasy writer, winner of several Hugo and Nebula Awards, author of the remarkable "Left Hand of Darkness" (1969) and the "Earthsea" cycle (1970 - 2001).
With "Orsinian Tales" (1976) she surprises the reader with a collection of short stories placed in an imaginary country: Orsinia. This country has all the traits of a Central European one (just as the fictional Ruritania of "Prisoner of Zenda"). The characters names and psychology have resonances of Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, giving a special undertone to all the tales.
The stories take place in different time periods (in the last page of each one, is shown the year of occurrence) allowing the reader to have a side-glance of the historical evolution of the country.
The tales are written in "minimalists" style, that is to say they portray every day scenes, no great adventures or speculations, just insights of ordinary people in ordinary situations. With this simple stuff Ms. Le Guin construct an engaging collection, full of touching details as in "Imaginary Countries". Family relationships and interaction with neighbors in a small town are described with a keen and gentle regard in "Night Talks".
A lovely sample of Le Guin's short prose.
Reviewed by Max Yofre.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's not science fiction! 14 Sep 2000
By "romanciere" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
OK, first off, if you're looking for SF to read, don't bother with this book, because SF it's not, even though it's by Ursula Le Guin. On the other hand, if you're looking for some beautifully written, well-crafted short stories, you might well stop and read.
ORSINIAN TALES is a collection of "mainstream" short stories set in the imaginary Eastern European country of Orsinia, which take place in various time periods ranging from the pagan Dark Ages to the 17th century to the Cold War. They are by turns grim, joyous, lyrical, wistful, and always fascinating. My one cavil is that the date of each story's setting is placed at the end of the story, so if you're not quite sure of the story's period (the period is not always terribly well defined in the opening of the stories, and it makes a difference--at least to me--if a tale is set in 1905 or 1950) you have to peek ahead. But it's a small quibble with a lovely piece of literature.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A World of Wonder 6 Jan 2011
By Anna Midkiff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful collection of short stories, interweaving in subtlety and setting, but never redundant or dependent on each other. I read them out of order, on and off whenever I felt like it, taking time to appreciate the stories.

The stories range in immediate setting from cities to country towns to castles to gardens, but all are set in the fictional country of Orsinia. The characters range from kings to doctors to blinded soldiers to twice-divorced women returning to their original love, but all are richly drawn in a surprisingly minimalist fashion. Ursula K. Le Guin writes with superb mastery of human nature, sucking her readers into the stories in a remarkably short amount of time--extremely necessary in such a short story.

Probably my favorite stories in the collection are "The Lady of Moge" "Conversations by Night" or "The Barrow." Definitely worth buying and reading. These stories will never get boring.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive and Inspiring 22 Feb 2007
By Yury - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Orsinian Tales take place in a fictional country of Orsinia, which could be any of the former Soviet satellite countries in Eastern Europe, with time periods of the stories ranging from the 11th century to 1960's and the centuries in between. After reading the Wizard of Earthsea and the Left Hand of Darkness, I had high expectations of this book and I was not disappointed. It has the same poetic flow and depth of characters that made Usula Le Guin's fantasy and sci-fi books such a pleasure to read and it is now one of my favorite collections of short stories. These stories have nothing to do with fantasy or sci-fi. They are so-called mainstream stories about ordinary people who make extraordinary choices. The story plots are not connected to each other and only two of the stories involve the same characters. The stories, however, are definitely not unrelated: there is a common theme running through them. The characters live in worlds where happiness seems an unobtainable dream and even preserving the belief in your right to happiness is a constant challenge. They encounter situations where a choice must be made between the path of least resistance and the path to struggling for happiness on their own terms. The characters' realizations of their needs, and the (implied) realization of their right to fulfill those needs, are the ingredients for the drama of each story. This theme dawns on you after reading the first several stories and it is the reason why the stories work much better as a collection than they would separately.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well written, compelling, and depressing as hell 18 July 2008
By P. W. Kerns - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Orsinian tales is very well written with Leguin's usual economy and grace. But it's frequently depressing. So take in small doses.
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