Malafrena

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Malafrena
Malafrena cover.jpg
Cover of first edition (hardcover)
Author Ursula K. Le Guin
Cover artist Michael Mariano
Country United States
Language English
Genre Fantasy literature
Publisher Berkley Publishing Corporation
Publication date
1979
Media type Print (Hardcover and Paperback)
Pages 369 (First edition)
ISBN 0-399-12410-1 (First edition, hardcover)
OCLC 4805125
813/.5/4
LC Class PZ4.L518 Mal 1979 PS3562.E42

Malafrena is a 1979 novel by Ursula K. Le Guin. Although she is best known for science fiction and fantasy, the only unusual element of this novel is that it takes place in the imaginary Central European country of Orsinia, which is also the setting of her collection Orsinian Tales.

In many ways, Malafrena reads like a nineteenth-century novel, with its many detailed characters, its political-movement and love-story subplots, its lack of the supernatural, and its settings that range from the mansions of the aristocracy to slums and a prison. Malafrena is written for an adult audience, as opposed to children and young adults, the target audience of most of Le Guin's works in the 1979-1994 time frame.[1]

Plot summary[edit]

The story takes place from 1825 to 1830, when Orsinia is ruled by the Austrian Empire. The hero is Itale Sorde, the son of the owner of an estate on a lake called Malafrena in a valley of the same name. Itale leaves the estate, against his father's will, to engage in nationalistic and revolutionary politics in the capital.

Characters[edit]

  • Itale Sorde: The protagonist of the story.
  • Laura Sorde: Itale's sister.
  • Guide Sorde: The father.

Literary significance and criticism[edit]

Mike Cadden notes that Malafrena has not received as much critical attention as many of Le Guin's other works, primarily because the characters in the story do not connect well with one another.[2] An imperceptible, omniscient author is used to tell the story, and Le Guin herself acknowledges one of the strongest influences on her Orsinian works is Russian literature.[3]

Translations[edit]

  • French: "Malafrena", Actes Sud, 1990
  • Russian: "Малафрена", Eksmo, 2004
  • Polish: "Malafrena", Wydawnictwo "Książnica", 2007
  • Turkish: "Malafrena", Metis Yayıncılık, 2013

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ Cadden, Mike. Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005) page 114.
  2. ^ Cadden, Mike. Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005) page 30.
  3. ^ Cadden, Mike. Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults, (New York, NY: Routledge, 2005) page 153.
Bibliography
  • Cadden, Mike (2005). Ursula K. Le Guin Beyond Genre: Fiction for Children and Adults (1st ed.). New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN 0-415-99527-2.