Synopses & Reviews
“[Zamyatins] intuitive grasp of the irrational side of totalitarianism- human sacrifice, cruelty as an end in itself-makes [We] superior to Huxleys [Brave New World].”
An inspiration for George Orwells 1984 and a precursor to the work of Philip K. Dick and Stanislaw Lem, We is a classic of dystopian science fiction ripe for rediscovery. Written in 1921 by the Russian revolutionary Yevgeny Zamyatin, this story of the thirtieth century is set in the One State, a society where all live for the collective good and individual freedom does not exist. The novel takes the form of the diary of state mathematician D-503, who, to his shock, experiences the most disruptive emotion imaginable: love for another human being.
At once satirical and sobering-and now available in a powerful new modern translation-We speaks to all who have suffered under repression of their personal and artistic freedom.
“One of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.”
"First published in the Soviet 1920s, Zamyatin's dystopic novel left an indelible watermark on 20th-century culture, from Orwell's 1984 to Terry Gilliam's movie Brazil. Randall's exciting new translation strips away the Cold War connotations and makes us conscious of Zamyatin's other influences, from Dostoyevski to German expressionism. D-503 is a loyal 'cipher' of the totalitarian One State, literally walled in by glass; he is a mathematician happily building the world's first rocket, but his life is changed by meeting I-330, a woman with 'sharp teeth' who keeps emerging out of a sudden vampirish dusk to smile wickedly on the poor narrator and drive him wild with desire. (When she first forces him to drink alcohol, the mind leaps to Marlene Dietrich in The Blue Angel.) In becoming a slave to love, D-503 becomes, briefly, a free man. In Randall's hands, Zamyatin's modernist idiom crackles ('I only remember his fingers: they flew out of his sleeve, like bundles of beams'), though the novel sometimes seems prophetic of the onset of Stalinism, particularly in the bleak ending. Modern Library's reintroduction of Zamyatin's novel is a literary event sure to bring this neglected classic to the attention of a new readership. (On sale July 11)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
About the Author
(1884–1937) was a Russian author of political satire. Arrested during the 1905 revolution, he was exiled twice from St. Petersburg before receiving amnesty in 1913. After Zamyatin completed We,
his only novel, in 1921, it was attacked by party-line critics, including the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers. Unable to publish his work, Zamyatin was granted permission to leave Russia with his wife in 1931. They moved to Paris, where he died in 1937.
Natasha Randall is a translator and writer living in New York City. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, St. Petersburg Times, The Strad magazine, and on National Public Radio.