Sunday, December 23, 2018

The Lathe of Heaven, by Ursula K. Le Guin (author), George Guidall (narrator)

Recorded Books, October 2016 (original publication 1971)

George Orr is a mild, unassuming man, a good draftsman, a man who has recently developed a mild drug abuse problem. This is discovered in part due to the pharmacy card that every citizen is issued. He's been making unauthorized use of other people's cards. It's not a very serious offense, at least at his level of abuse. Because he admits it, and another person admits to being one of his sources, he's only sent for Voluntary Therapeutic Treatment.

By chance, the psychiatrist he's assigned to is Dr. Haber.

This isn't the beginning of George's nightmare. George was using the drugs to suppress his dreams, and this is vital because some small percentage of George's dreams are what he calls "effective dreams." They change the world, and not just for him. He's the only one who even remembers that the world was ever different.

He tells Dr. Haber the truth, and manages to convince him. Haber promises to help, but instead begins manipulating George's dreams, in pursuit of his own ideas of a "better" world.

What follows is a strange, often dark, and fascinating adventure through alternating timelines, none of which work out exactly the way Haber intended. Haber grows increasingly frustrated; George grows increasingly alarmed--even as, along the way some positive and encouraging changes do happen. Yet even the good changes are often the result of horrific events that killed millions, and George feels responsible for those deaths.

He needs friends, help, a way out of the trap.

George is a very good man, with seemingly great power, who wants to do as little damage as possible. Haber is not really a bad man, and he is genuinely trying to make things better--but he does have a large ego and great personal ambition, too.

They and the whole world are on a roller coaster ride through an unpredictably changing world.

It's a fantastic, wonderful story. Highly recommended.

I bought this audiobook.

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