Friday, June 23, 2006

The Beginning Place

Ursula K. LeGuin

The Beginning Place is, essentially, a modern fairy tale. Hugh, a young man of about 20, finds escape from his dreary, everyday world as a supermarket checker when, one evening, he dashes from his house and finds a secluded, quiet stream where time seems to stop. Meanwhile, Irene, also about 20, who has been coming to the land beyond the stream for many years, discovers that Hugh has been using the spot for a reprieve from his life. Eventually, they must work together to save the land, called Tembreabrezi, from a growing fear that has crippled trade.

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It isn't the best book I've ever read, and it isn't the best of LeGuin's work. But, it has a certain charm that makes it worthwhile. The pace keeps up through the relatively short novel, but it has a dream-like quality to it (or, maybe it's just because I read it entirely on the plane, I dunno). Throughout, I couldn't help but think that it would be a perfect gay novel, trading Irene for another boy. It has just the perfect touch of sweetness and innocence to make it work, I think.
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