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Fantasy Friday: The Found and the Lost by Ursula K. Le Guin

Every novella by Ursula K. Le Guin, an icon in American literature, collected for the first time in one breathtaking volume.

Ursula K. Le Guin has won multiple prizes and accolades from the Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters to the Newbery Honor, the Nebula, Hugo, World Fantasy, and PEN/Malamud Awards. She has had her work collected over the years, but never as a complete retrospective of her longer works as represented in the wonderful The Found and the Lost.

-Vaster Than Empires and More Slow
-Buffalo Gals, Won’t You Come Out Tonight
-The Matter of Seggri
-Another Story or a Fisherman of the Inland Sea
-Forgiveness Day
-A Man of the People
-A Woman’s Liberation
-Old Music and the Slave Women
-The Finder
-On the High Marsh
-Paradises Lost

This collection is a literary treasure chest that belongs in every home library.

Amazon Link: The Found and the Lost

Author: Ursula K. Le Guin

Genre: Anthology

Rating: 5/5 stars

This is a sprawling anthology because it collects almost all of Ursula K. Le Guin’s novellas. (“Betrayals” is missing from Four Ways to Forgiveness, although you can find it in the companion collection, The Real and the Unreal. Maybe the editors thought the length made it a short story. However, there are some stories that are in both collections, so I’m not sure how they drew the line.) Some of these are hard to find now because they are out of print, so it was nice to get them all together.

Le Guin wrote in many genres and that’s reflected here. Her major sci-fi series, The Hainish Cycle, is here and so are some stories from her fantasy world, Earthsea. Some sci-fi and fantasy stories are unrelated to those worlds. And some stories fall into literary fiction or might be classified as women’s fiction (because they are about women).

I have read many of these novellas before, but some of them were new to me and it was cool to read some outside the SFF genres. Le Guin can really transcend genre boundaries to tell compelling stories about characters who live and breathe beyond the page.

Also, these are definitely stories that you can learn something new from reading them multiple times. Sometimes, it’s because I put the pieces together from other parts of the series and I get a little more complete picture of the world, as in the Ekumen and Earthsea. Other times, my own age and experience lead me to new insights when I return to them after many years. Since I started reading Le Guin as a kid, these stories have been with me a long time. One that I particularly enjoyed more this time was “Dragonfly.” I remember that I was disappointed in it the first time because I wanted them to spend more time in the wizard school on Roke and let a female student participate in real classes. This time, I let go of my expectations and appreciated the story for what it is. And maybe I understood it a little better.

If you’re a fan of Ursula K. Le Guin, I recommend this book to help complete your collection. If you haven’t tried her work before, I think this would also be a good book to start with because you get such a wide sampling of her genres, series, and style. There is something for everyone in this collection.

Here is the book in my reading journal:


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.