The Lathe of Heaven
By Ursula K. Le Guin
Scribner Book Company, 9781416556961, May 2008, 184pp.
The Short of It:
Even though this book was originally published in 1971, it still possesses a futuristic feel.
The Rest of It:
In a future world racked by violence and environmental catastrophes, George Orr wakes up one day to discover that his dreams have the ability to alter reality. He seeks help from Dr. William Haber, a psychiatrist who immediately grasps the power George wields. Soon George must preserve reality itself as Dr. Haber becomes adept at manipulating George’s dreams for his own purposes. — From the publisher.
This was a fascinating read even though I’m pretty sure some of it went right over my head. For a short book, it certainly packs a punch and gets right into George’s head. His dreams have the power to change reality, which is why he so desperately wants to stop dreaming, but once Dr. Haber realizes what’s in front of him he takes advantage of the situation. He implants dream “suggestions” into George’s mind but to George, everything is very literal so the end result is not always what the doctor had in mind.
People die or cease to exist. They come back. Aliens can’t communicate. Then they can, but only after they become turtles. Check out that cover. Turtles!
This is a crazy book but I could easily read it again because there’s so much I missed the first time around. The book club I belong to discussed it last week and it was a good discussion. Apparently, it was also made into a movie. Has anyone read the book or seen the movie?
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15 thoughts on “Review: The Lathe of Heaven”
I have read her other books but I have never even heard of this one!
I think she is pretty well known for this book. It’s from 1971 and still reads pretty current.
I can see how that would make a good book club pick. I don’t think I’d pick it up on my own, though.
Plus, it’s so short. Under 200 pages but there’s so much to discuss.
I haven’t read any of her books. This one sounds a lot of fun. Alien tutles!
I know! It’s terribly hard to ignore alien turtles.
I feel like this is one author that I need to read but have yet to do so. Also, this sounds way too wacky for me. And yes, there are stories that are too crazy even for me.
It reminded me of a lot of different books, 1984, Brave New World and Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase. It’s wacky in the way that dreams can be. Nonsense, sometimes.
I haven’t read this author. The book sounds a bit out there 🙂
She’s written a ton of books but if you don’t read Sci-Fi then I can see how you’ve missed her work all these years. I knew of her, just never got around to reading her books until now. It’s out there like dreams can be. Wild. Sometimes not making sense. Sometimes making perfect sense.
Hmm that would make some movie! I like the premise that someone’s dreams could alter reality, how cool is that. I have the weirdest dreams ever and wouldn’t be surprised to see a flying turtle!
My dreams are crazy too, when I have them. I don’t sleep long enough or deep enough to dream often. But when I do, there is another blogger on FB who interprets my dreams and she seriously gives me chills sometimes.
That’s such a strange feeling to finish a book but feel like you may not have totally “got it.” If the world was based on my dreams we’d all be in trouble! 🙂
It’s not like it was too hard to understand or anything like that, but the references made… I think some of them went over my head. It was written in 1971 so it’s quite possible. I loved how it reminded me of all my fave books.. Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, etc.
How have I missed this gem!