16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
A bitter, prophetic satire,
This review is from: We (Paperback)
Imagine a world where everything is subservient to the United State. Where people do not have names, but are referred to only as numbers. Where your job, your home and your mate are determined for you by the "Well-Doer" and thoughts and actions are closely monitored by the "Guardians." This is not 1984 - this is Zamiatin's WE - predating Orwell by almost 25 years, and eerily describing the USSR under Stalin 10 years before its worst excesses.
The similarities between Zamiatin's world and Orwells are many and obvilious. Both are a biting satire of totalitarianism: its centralization of authority, its blatant disregard for human life and the crushing oppressiveness of the State. However I believe Zamiatin's to be the better story.
Orwell does not have Zamiatin's sarcastic use of the double entendre. And Zamiatin's writing style (especially his use of mathematical metaphors) reinforces the impersonal nature of his "utopian" society. Finally, Zamiatin's story is much more psychological than Orwells - much of the story takes place in the thoughts of the main character.
WE is rightly considered a masterpiece of modern Russian literature. If you have read 1984, I highly recommend reading WE.