Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
We Mass Market Paperback – August 1, 1983
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
"As the first major anti-utopian fantasy ... has its own peculiar wryness and grace, sharper than the pamphleteering of 1984 or the philosophical schema of Brave New World, its celebrated descendants". -- Kirkus Reviews
""We" is one of the great novels of the twentieth century."-- Irving Howe"One of the best!"-- "New York Review of Books""As the first major anti-utopian fantasy . . . "We has its own peculiar wryness and grace, sharper than the pamphleteering of "1984" or thephilosophical scheme of "Brave New World, " its celebrated descendants."-- "Kirkus Reviews""Fantastic."-- "The New York Times"
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Browse award-winning titles. See more
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Zamyatin joined the Bolsheviks in Tsarist Russia and was arrested several times. An engineer, he worked for the Imperial Russian Navy (apparently they didn’t mind his record) and traveled to the UK for his work. He missed the February Revolution due to being in the UK, but returned just in time for October. However, he grew disillusioned with his own party for their censorship, and decided to have We smuggled out for publication in the West.
We‘s dystopia is based on Communism, Taylorism/scientific management, and Christianity (it is remarked several times that the Christian churches were forerunners of the society in We, and the rebels are named after Mephistopheles). I also detected the influence of Plato–the secret police are known as the Guardians. The Big Brother character (or, I should say, prototype) is known as the Well-Doer or the Benefactor depending on the translation. Interestingly, Zamyatin’s protagonist, D-503, actually gets to meet this character face to face.
There’s also a space ship.
D- is an engineer building a space ship for the government, and writing a record of life in the United State (singular, not plural) to be transported to the aliens that the spaceship will presumably meet. But as he falls for the revolutionary I-330, his record becomes ever more exciting–and problematic for him. He believes in the ideology of the United State, and is confused by his attraction to a woman he knows is against it–and, as the book goes on, his own “criminal” actions.
There is a scene in which the revolutionaries attempt to hijack the spaceship, and generally the book is more exciting than the classic dystopian novels. There’s real hope that the state will be defeated, and the cracks are showing by the end, though the main character is lost forever to a forced operation that destroyed his imagination and made him a conformist again.
I have to agree with Orwell that the loose plotting is a flaw–the same effect could have been achieved in many fewer pages. I also felt the portrayal of O-, D-‘s initial lover, was misogynistic, though this may have just been because we’re seeing it through the eyes of D-, who is definitely sexist. I- is a very different sort of female character, so I’m willing to attribute some of the sexism to D-‘s narration.
This book is written in first person, as a journal entry of D-503's life. He lives in a city that is surrounded by a green wall and in a society where people have no names, just numbers, and follow a strict schedule for work, sleep, leisure activities, and even sex. The journal explains who he is, his daily schedule, and eventually gives a detailed account of his inner thoughts as he wrestles with the idea that all is not as it appears with the world. All this begins when he meets I-303 for the first time. (That is all I will say - no spoilers here)
Throughout this book, it is easy to draw similarities between both of the books, but it is my opinion that both "A Brave New World" and "1984" are superior to this work. I do not know if my opinion would change if I was reading this in the original Russian translation, but there are instances in the book that are difficult to follow or that are not described in enough detail for me to fully understand what the author was trying to depict, something that I do not have difficulty with in either of the other works.
** Fry Boy (another reviewer) does a great job of explaining a few of these instances
I would recommend this book to those who enjoyed "A Brave New World" and "1984," since they are all up the same alley.
Most recent customer reviews
Sometimes shows it’s age.Read more