Thursday, February 1, 2018

We by Yevgeny Zamyatin

Dystopian Fiction ~ eBook Edition
I graduated with a BA in Russian Language from the University of Iowa. I have a deep fondness for Russian classic literature.

I haven't read much in the way of Russian literature in recent years. So, I have decided to branch out a bit and explore new to me Russian writers... Hopefully, I'll read more works from Russian writers later this year.

I've been wanting to read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin for quite a while now. We is a dystopian novel set in the distant future. It is a short read at approximately 134 pages in length. 

I learned through Wikipedia that We "became the first work banned by the Soviet censorship board" in 1921. I also learned from Wikipedia that We by Yevgeny Zamyatin directly inspired the following works:
One of the main reasons I read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin is because it was the first banned book in Russia... I'm always curious as to why certain books are banned and eventually end up wanting to read many of them. Usually, banned books make for really great reads!

However, if truth be told... I really struggled in reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. By the time I was around 25-30% into this ebook, I wanted to quit reading it altogether and move on to my next read... I didn't care for the formatting contained in my ebook edition of We. The formatting was way off, making it difficult to follow the storyline and conversations between characters. Also, many words were omitted that would have make the a sentence sound/feel complete... Also, I wonder if a better translation could have been done for We, as the words used in this novel made it sounded dated and old fashioned. 

Also, the main character, D-503, became annoying to me over time... We is written as a series of journal entries told through the eyes of D-503. I liked the concept of reading a series of journal entries, but D-503's character is an annoying main character and with all the other issues I've mentioned, I simply stopped caring about what was going on in this novel or what message the author was trying to convey to readers. I just wanted this novel to be over with, period. Maybe if I'd read a different translation of We with better formatting and editing, I would have enjoyed reading this dystopian novel much more than I did.

The following is a plot summary for We by Yevgeny Zamyatin from Amazon:
We is set into the far-flung future well after a war that had lasted two-hundred years. 
D-503 lives in the One State, a lone city constructed almost entirely of glass so that the State can keep an eye on the citizens at all times. 
Life is organized by the hour in order to maximum proficiency and maximum output from every inhabitant. 
People walk in step with each other and wear identical clothing with badges with their numbers/names for easy identification by the States agents. 
'I' is not allowed. Only 'We' exists. 
People do not have names, they have a serial number. 
A permit is needed for times to have intimate relationships in order to lower the shades on the glass buildings the city is composed of. 
There is total surveillance of every person. 
While the final work to put the One State not only as an Earthbound government but to make it an interstellar one as well, D-503 begins to live a life of rebellion and secrets.He is in a fight against time as the One State has developed a procedure to eliminate Imagination in order to make all the people of the One State more efficient and less distracted.
I am giving We by Yevgeny Zamyatin a rating of 1 stars out of 5 stars.

Until my next post, happy reading!


  1. I can see why you wanted to read this. It sounds like a bad translation and bad ebook formatting hampered your enjoyment. Banned in 1921? Wow.

    1. I'm glad I read this novel. I was simply expecting it to be better.