Tuesday, February 07, 2012

We

We. Yevgeny Zamyatin. Translated by Mirra Ginsburg. 1921/1972*. HarperCollins. 233 pages.

I shall simply copy, word for word, the proclamation that appeared today in the One State Gazette... 

We is a dystopian novel. I've been wanting to read it for almost as long as I've been blogging.

What did I think of We?

I found the novel interesting but not necessarily comprehensible. I struggled to make sense of this one. (I think I followed about a third of it.) I'm sure I missed much of what was going on simply because I was trying to make sense of this world, this society. Could the problem--for me--be this society's emphasis on math and logic?

The narrator of We is a state mathematician named D-503. (I did figure out that men have a consonant and an odd number; women have a vowel and an even number). Everything is calculated and precise and governed or regulated. Even intimate relationships. D-503 has two registered partners--O-90 and I330. O-90 desperately wants a child, a dream that isn't likely to come true. And I330 is a big, big tease who manipulates men in oh-so-many ways. Perhaps because D-503 cannot understand her at all, cannot predict anything about her, she fascinates him, enslaves him.

So one of D-503's projects is working on the spaceship, Integral. One State has plans to conquer the universe. Perhaps because of what he does, I-330 sees an opportunity to use him to get what she wants...
A human being is like a novel: until the last page you don't know how it will end. Or it wouldn't be worth reading... (162)

Read We
  • If you are looking for a literary quality to your science fiction
  • If you enjoy a challenge as you read; if you enjoy complexity
  • If you are looking to read a science fiction classic
  • If you are interested in Russian literature from this time period
*It was first translated into English (according to Wikipedia) in 1924, this translation by Mirra Ginsburg was done in 1972. 

© 2012 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Bob 1:10 AM  

I wonder how much translation helps in the novels accessibility. I listened to the Audiobook version of We based on the 1988 Translation by Clarence Brown. I first read We as a teenager back in the 80's and I'm not sure which translation I read, but I found I was able to follow the audiobook version I listened to much better than my initial reading. I credited it with me being older and wiser, but perhaps it was the translation.

I really did enjoy your review. I found it on The Stainless Steel Droppings SF challenge.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

Pageloads Counter

Search Book Blogs Search Engine

The background is based on a background I found here...with some small adjustments on my part so it would work with the template.
Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP