Title :: We
Author :: Yevgeny Zamyatin
Completed :: Feb 22 2008
Challenges :: 1001 Books
Rating :: 4/5

Who knows who you really are? A person is like a novel: Up to the very last page you don't know how it's going to end. Otherwise, there'd be no point in reading...

This book was amazing and even more so when I learned that it was written in 1924! This ladies and gentlemen is the book that inspired George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Ayn Rand's Anthem and Kurt Vonnegut's Player Piano. I'm sure by mentioning those books you now have an idea what this book is about - a dystopian society - OneState - set in the future. With that said you would think We then is a book about the main character learning that the Powers That Be are flawed and thus tries to correct/escape/come to terms with that realization. While there is that basic storyline (and please remember when Zamyatin wrote this book it was at that time sort of a new idea) Zamyatin also has a bit of a love story! Shocking I'm sure to some! In fact our main character, D-503 is lured to the truth by a woman, I-330 who grabs his attention and through her "shocking" actions he comes closer and closer to what's really going on. It is his struggle between wanting to do what's "right" and being with I-330 that is so alluring. I-330 seems to have another motive, she is using D-503 because she needs something that he's working on for OneState, something that may help her cause. Other character's release themselves from OneState seemingly on their own. One of D-503's sex partners (yes each Number is given a Sex Table ensuring that they get as much sex as they need and "each Number has the right to any other Number as sexual product"), O-90 decides she wants to have a baby, someting apparently not done in this OneState and she pleads with D-503 to give this to her even if she has to die in the end.

I was reading another review written here and they mention the fact that Zamyatin's novel unlike 1984 and the others is not era-specific so it still leaves it's readers contemplating the eerie possibility of OneState being our future. It is truly a great novel and for all of those doing the Russian Reading Challenge you should definitely add this to your list - espcially since unlike War and Peace this book weighs in at only just 225 pgs!

Unfortunately the book was not actually published in Russia until 1988. Sadly in order to publish his book Zamyatin wrote a letter to Stalin asking permission to leave his home country as it was 'death to an author who was refused publication'. His request was surprisingly granted and Zamyatin moved to Paris and begin publishing his work.

Other Thoughts ::
: 1 more chapter
: you're next - reviewed this book? Leave a comment with the link!

. listening . when the day falls . emiliana torrini . fisherman's woman .


posted by Ashleigh @ 16:22,


At 4 April 2008 at 16:07, Blogger Danielle said...

I'm surprised that Stalin let him go. I'm adding this one to the wishlist--it sounds quite different than the other books you think of with a dystopian setting.


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    ashleigh (ash'lė) n.
    1: egyptologist; currently living in the uk attempting to obtain a phd in egyptology, hoping in the end there will be a job.
    2: literary; reading to escape reality, to improve conversation, for inspiration.
    3: crafter; crocheting and needlework, creating heirlooms, keeping the world warm.
    4: dreamer; head in the clouds, full of fantasies, wishing to be someone else, somewhere else.
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