Never too Late to Read Classics discussion

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message 1: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
We is the classic dystopian novel and was the forerunner of works such as George Orwell's 1984 and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World. It was suppressed for many years in Russia and remains a resounding cry for individual freedom, yet is also a powerful, exciting and vivid work of science fiction. Clarence Brown's brilliant translation is based on the corrected text of the novel, first published in Russia in 1988 after more than sixty years' suppression under the Soviet Union.

I hope everyone enjoys this as much as I did!


message 2: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8419 comments Mod
I recommend this book as well.


message 3: by Karin (last edited Aug 01, 2020 10:06AM) (new)

Karin | 782 comments It's well worth reading. I read this two years ago (I just checked--I posted my review in July, 2018) and while I didn't like it much (2.5 stars -- 3 is a like for me), I am glad to have read it.


message 4: by Georgina (new)

Georgina (georgiet29) | 234 comments I haven’t read this one so I’ll be joining you, I’m excited about this one.


message 5: by Samantha, Cajun Literary Belle (new)

Samantha Matherne (cajunliterarybelle) | 2430 comments Mod
I don’t know anything about this book. I’ll have to look into it.


message 6: by Rosemarie, Northern Roaming Scholar (new)

Rosemarie | 8419 comments Mod
This is somewhat similar to Brave New World, but was actually written before the Huxley book.


message 7: by Book Nerd (new)

Book Nerd (book_nerd_1) | 386 comments It's kind of hard to search for just "We". The author is Yevgeny Zamyatin. We
It's pretty short so hopefully I'll try to reread it.


John_Dishwasher John_Dishwasher (johndishwasher) | 72 comments Rosemarie wrote: "This is somewhat similar to Brave New World, but was actually written before the Huxley book."

Yes, it felt like a mixture of Brave New World and 1984 for me. Totalitarian but everyone's happy. I thought he was riffing off Orwell, but then I saw the publication date and realized Orwell was riffing off him. It's almost like Orwell took Zamyatin's world and further developed it, which diminished 1984 for me. Anyway, to me the book seemed like a comment on Totalitarianism in the beginning but later I thought it commented as much on human foibles. Like as long as people give us what we want and make us happy we'll do anything they say. He really challenges us to not give in to that temptation and be inner-directed.


message 9: by Jazzy (last edited Aug 03, 2020 03:13AM) (new)

Jazzy Lemon (jazzylemon) Soviet rule was in place and the people referred to themselves as 'We'. I think comparing it to books that were influenced by it and came after it is not fair on the first of the one in such an original genre. I read it earlier this year. The best way of describing this book is that it is the story that Nineteen Eighty-Four and Brave New World were both inspired by.


message 10: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
Oh, didn't know about that bit of information Jazzy. Thank you! Didn't know Soviets used "we" in that context.


message 11: by Peter (last edited Aug 04, 2020 10:46AM) (new)

Peter (slawophilist) | 101 comments I am (re)reading this as well and am appalled by the many parallels to past and existing totalitarian systems. Where could the denial of individuality be more blatant as in the creation of large images by thousands of people holding up coloured cardboards as popular in China and North Korea. In a broader sense every parade is a symbol of predominance of the "We" above the "I".

On a sideline: In the 80s a lived for a year in (still communist) Poland. By that time "We" (my) had become the identifier of simple people in contrast to those in power "They" (oni). There was even a book by Teresa Torańska under this title.


message 12: by Peter (new)

Peter (slawophilist) | 101 comments I struggled at first to understand entry no. 8, when young D-503 cannot comprehend the nature of the number V-1. It took me some mulling to realize that it should be the square root of minus one, but distorted for the purpose of an e-book.



In the Russian text it denotes just "и", the Cyrillic version of the letter "i". So the "name" of the mysterious woman I-330 is not incidental.


message 13: by Eugene (new)

Eugene Galt (eugenegalt) | 659 comments As a kid, I went through a phase in which I devoured dystopian fiction. I could see Zamyatin's influence across the genre, including works by Stanisław Lem and Ayn Rand.


message 14: by Georgina (new)

Georgina (georgiet29) | 234 comments I’ve finished and I enjoyed this one, I hadn’t heard of this until earlier this year and I’m amazed that it doesn’t have the same recognition that brave new world and 1984 has.


message 15: by Patrick, From USA Sci-fi/Fantasy & Horror (new)

Patrick | 651 comments Mod
Georgina wrote: "I’ve finished and I enjoyed this one, I hadn’t heard of this until earlier this year and I’m amazed that it doesn’t have the same recognition that brave new world and 1984 has."

I agree! I thought it would be just as widely read. Strange how that happens.


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