Ursula Le Guin, ‘The Dispossessed’
I can’t say enough good about this book. Beautifully written descriptions of the two worlds, believable, fallible and most importantly, human characters. On top of this the premise is excellent, a man from an insular/exiled, socialist moon travels to the nearby home planet which has a capitalist culture, clearly an analysis of eastern/western block differences in the post war period. The reader familiar capitalist culture is exposed as strange and contrary through the protagonists eyes, as is the socialist world, as the free-thinker attempts to break free from the constraints placed upon him by that culture too. The focus shifts between past and present regularly and you never want to leave the narrative thread you are in, which is always the sign of good writing. Each of the two threads is gripping for different reasons, but both expose the beauties and problems of the two planets and ideologies.
By the end of the book, the reader is left with a feeling that they have been party to the divulgence of deep truths, but could not say exactly what they are. This is a feeling that you get at the end of ‘1984’, ‘The player of games” and other great political SF. ‘The Dispossessed’ rightly has a place at the forefront of the genre.