But sometimes one forgets what 'an excellent book' means. I picked up my old paperback from a low bookshelf very late on Tuesday night, and I was still sitting, freezing and tired, on the bedroom floor next to the bookshelf, in the early hours of Wednesday morning. I think sometimes U LeG can fall of the edge into twee, into wish fulfilment. I think she avoids that danger in this case.
Since I last read this novel, years ago, I have learned a lot more about the Tao Te Ching and read U LeG's own translation of it. This has enriched my pleasure in the book.
I would love to see a film made of Left Hand of Darkness. I think that would be a massive cinematic challenge. For those who don't know, all the characters in the book, apart from the male visitor to the planet from earth, are androgynous. There is a deal of unresolved sexual tension between the alien visitor and sacked Prime Minister of the country, Estraven. Casting is an interesting question: the earth man is black, and is described as youthful and fresh faced. However I might be tempted to cast him as older and more masculine, so that the contrast with the androgynous natives is easier to represent. Estraven I might cast with a young male actor, and play up the feminine aspect of his appearance. Most of the powerful natives, the King, the religious leader, the secret policeman etc. I would cast using older women.
Hang on, this could be some kind of dream film for me.