Lathe of Heaven

One of the reasons I love reading books by Ursula Le Guin is that her stories help me understand more about the world I live in. The way she frames things that may be completely different than Earth, help me understand more about myself as well. It’s always amazing and I always set books down by her after finishing thinking, “Dang, she did it again.” Lathe of Heaven was no different.

Originally published in 1971, this book is a near future dystopian look at the world by focusing on one city, Portland, Oregon. My city, I knew all the places and names to which Le Guin referred as she created this world. This made the book even more interesting. But the focus of the book is George Orr who has effective dreams, his dreams change reality and history. He is sent to a psychologist who believes him and starts to direct his dreams to change the world the way he thinks it should be. He believes he’s making the world “better” for everyone.

It is a fascinating look at what is “better” and how flipping a switch to change things may not be the best option. This book was especially fantastic to read during the current election, because I so wish I could flip a switch and change so many things. I don’t want to say more other than read it!

There is a bird in a poem by T. S. Eliot who says that mankind cannot bear very much reality; but the bird is mistaken. A man can endure the entire weight of reality of the universe for eighty years. It is unreality that he cannot bear.