mounting tensions between Karhide and Orgoreyn… and between what we think we know, and what the author is slowly teasing, revealing. are we on the Envoy’s side? do we trust Estraven? what is trust? trust means something reliable, predictable: i trust that you will act and think in alignment with who you are. your intentions are in alignment. solid. consistent. why am i making trust sound so dull?
i’m combining my response to chapters 8 and 9 of Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. it really is a delicious experience, reading her words. moments like “Passerer on the Karhide side and Siuwensin in Orgoreyn, staring sleepily at each other across the noisy Ey.” so much packed in there! the ability to invent names and language, to use metaphor without overdoing it. later on in chapter 8, there is a raid, a fire breaks out–even though i read the passage twice, i was confused as to whether this was happening, or whether it was the narrator’s dream. he was just as confused, this brought me closer into his mind, the two of us bewildered and stumbling through what comes next. i was listening to part of a talk by Jordan Petersen, in which he mentions that Dostoyevsky experienced intense religious experiences, followed by epileptic seizures. these experiences were so incredible, that the writer would give his life to continue having them. Petersen speculates that the greatness of Dostoyevsky’s writing is at least in part due to his ability to access this divine rupture, this exalted altered state. this led me to think about how when we, as readers, experience an author’s creation, we get a little high. we participate in the altered state. literary microdose.
finally, i love the tenderness of the Traitor tale, chapter 9. the intrigue of doubling: what happens in one generation is repeated in the next. names repeat, themes repeat, events repeat. we are drawn in my repetition, rhythm. heart-beat. we learn that a traitor is one who goes against tradition. not to be trusted. inconsistent.