This is totally new thing for me. Not the first dystopia that I’ve ever not read nor it is the first Russian surrealistic novel for me. However there is something that is above the average understanding of the world and society.
This novel is obvious to be compared with George Orwell’s 1984 as the latter is the first dystopia that probably comes to everyone’s minds. The plots are alike in a way, of course, but in “We” there is a lot more mystery and unknowingness than in “1984". It makes the reader drown in this new world, the world of mathematics and numbers, where everyone believes in science and considers “having a soul” a disease. Where everyone is numbered and no names exist anymore. People feel pity for their ancestors, us, calling them barbarians and beasts. They believe that society before them was wrong and dysfunctional.
All that may seem normal for any dystopia, but here Zamyatin describes it a bit differently, I would even say too obvious that it is a dystopia. But that makes it even more catchy and forces the reader to continue reading.
The protagonist and his story are quite predictable. He believes in strict society and seems to be happy. Until he meets a girl who is a rebel and who seems to be so different from everything so that he is attracted to her and whole those new feelings and “catches a soul”.
It was not the plot that drew my attention. In fact, it is quite dull and I would even say boring. It is the surreality and its combination with math, strict numbers and complicated combinations. Zamyatin shocks the reader, disorient him/her to that extent that it is sometimes even hard to figure out what is happening in the chapter. This novel certainly makes you think about life and society’s values and this surrealism adds mystery and attractiveness.