The Left Hand of Darkness (Hainish Cycle, #4) by Ursula K. Le Guin · Book review

⇠ View all reviews

Plot tl;dr - the main character, Genly, is on a planet where everyone is is neither male or female. It reminds me of the Ancillary Justice series where everyone is referred to as a "she" (although this book came 40 years earlier!)

The book defaults to "he" pronouns for everyone. I wish it used "she" instead, since it becomes very easy when reading to just imagine all the genderless people as men, since Genly does a lot of interacting with people in power who are traditionally men e.g. a prime minister and a king. However this can be explained away by Genly being a male and being biased towards choosing "he".

A couple of times Genly gender stereotypes ("he was graceful as a girl") and even right at the end of the book he mentions that a child must be a boy because "no girl could keep a grim a silence as he did". I guess the author was trying to prove a point by being overtly obvious with the stereotyping but at the same time it's kind of frustrating to read since Genly is a likeable main character otherwise and it's not really pointed out that he's doing it.

I wish we could have seen some more growth from Genly and for him to move away from gender stereotyping as the book progressed.

Still it's a 50 year old book so considering its age, it's pretty good!

⇠ Next review
Underground Railroad
Previous review ⇢
Starsight (Skyward, #2)


🦉 Subscribe to my monthly newsletter for updates on my latest posts and projects.