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Life in Orsinia

I've recently been thinking about Ursula K. Le Guin, the highly-rated science fiction / fantasy writer; who I've never read. On a quest to find The left hand of darkness, one of her best known books, I failed to find Darkness but instead came across The complete Orsinia. Le Guin's Orsinian tales include her earliest writings. The American author wanted to write about Europe, but...: "I knew it was foolhardy to write fiction set in Europe if I'd never been there. At last it occurred to me that I might get away with it by writing about a part of Europe where nobody had been but me."

This sounds like the entrance to Ruritania, and yes, there are elements of Le Guin's stories that edge onto Anthony Hope's romantic country; but Le Guin's Bohemian country - part- Czechoslovakia / part-Hungary / part-the lands that Patrick Leigh Fermor wandered about between the wars - is a rather more serious place. And by being no-country it becomes convincingly every…

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