Gifts

by Ursula K. LeGuin

In the Uplands, members of each family lineage share a gift. One family’s gift... read more

In the Uplands, members of each family lineage share a gift. One family’s gift is the ability to start a fire simply by pointing, another family can call animals to the hunt, and a third can move any object with a word and gesture. Orrec’s family possesses one of the strongest gifts of all, the power of “undoing.” With a look and a motion, Orrec’s father can destroy a mouse or devastate a mountainside. When Orrec’s gift surfaces at adolescence, he is terrified by his potential to destroy and his inability to control the gift’s force. Rather than risk harming others in a moment of uncontrolled emotion, Orrec voluntarily accepts a permanent blindfold to prevent him from invoking his gift. At the same time, he and a friend begin to question their gifts and the way Upland families use their extraordinary abilities strategically as they vie for position and power. Ursula K. Le Guin’s name is synonymous with outstanding fantasy writing, and this compelling story continues that tradition of excellence. The author moves beyond an engaging plot to raise questions about the ethics of power, family responsibility, and personal choice. (Ages 11–15)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2005

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