Ursula K. Le Guin

The return of a literary legend

On the bottom rack of my bookshelf is a small tattered book I haven’t read in ages, but refuse to get rid of. That book is Catwings, a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin about a cat who gives birth to winged kittens and urges them to leave her behind and fly away from their bad neighborhood. As a 9-year-old, I remember feeling a sense of bleakness to the story’s content that I couldn’t quite place. Now I understand and marvel at Le Guin’s ability to use even the most innocent-seeming fiction as a powerful vehicle for social commentary. I’ve enjoyed the critically-acclaimed novelist/essayist/ children’s author’s different genres at different points of my life; I’m currently partial to “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas” in which she manages to negate the ideals of a utopian society through a story devoid of the usual literary devices like plot, characters, or dialogue. Having basked in Le Guin’s innovative and resonating prose for so long, it’s about damn time I get the opportunity to listen to her discuss her writing in person. At the University Book Store, 4326 University Way N.E., 7 p.m. Fri., Oct. 19. and Elliott Bay Book Co., 101 S. Main St., 7:30 p.m. Mon., Oct. 22.

Fri., Oct. 19, 7 p.m.; Mon., Oct. 22, 7:30 p.m., 2007

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