Revered science-fiction writer Ursula K Le Guin’s 1970s classic The Dispossessed, now released by The Folio Society, is complex and thrilling genre fiction. It contains aspects of the celebrated author’s abiding interest in anthropology and human nature. The work summons worlds that invite total belief from her reader, and she gives no easy answers to the many questions the book poses.
Artist David Lupton, whose work appears in The Dispossessed, first worked with Ursula K. Le Guin on the Folio Society edition of A Wizard of Earthsea. He ensures that her vision of the fantasy classic has been captured on the page.
For The Dispossessed, Lupton has kept in close contact with Le Guin’s son, Theo, and the result is a series of beautiful, sensitive illustrations which reflect the complexities of the book’s characters and the tensions between them. As Theo Downes-Le Guin advised: ‘With regard to skin tones, I would guess that my mother’s advice would be: dear reader, imagine them as you wish, with the sole proviso that they don’t necessarily look like you.’
Le Guin wrote The Dispossessed in 1974, drawing on her experiences protesting the Vietnam War. However, in his introduction, Professor Brian Attebery suggests that Le Guin’s purposes were always more complex than a single comparison. Looking closely at the author’s life and work, Attebery examines the continuing vital relevance of The Dispossessed in a world where the question of who builds the walls, and who is kept prisoner, is more urgent than ever.
The Folio Society edition of The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin, introduced by Brian Attebery and illustrated by David Lupton, is available exclusively from The Folio Society.