When I had to read a dystopian book for my 2016 book challenge, I knew I would have a problem. I’ve read them all. Well, obviously not them all, but when I scroll down the Goodreads list of popular dystopian books, I have read 19 of the top 20. So finding one that wasn’t a series (I enjoy a good series, but I just don’t have time to invest in one right now) was going to be a challenge. Then I remembered We. I’ve had it on my list for awhile. Published in 1924, We is one of the earliest dystopian novels of the modern literature.
I was first introduced to the genre with The Giver, then by 1984, both works affecting me greatly. 1984 is still my favorite all time favorite book, mostly because Orwell was a brilliant writer and could truly see our future. It is the scariest book I’ve ever read, mostly because it is coming true every day. And reading We was very reminiscent of 1984. It is clear Orwell got his inspiration from this book. However, Huxley says he wrote Brave New World before reading We. But all three books are clearly aligned, not only in subject, but also in writing style.
We is very sparsely written. It’s more of a stripped down version of a story. Granted, it was originally published in Russian, but the English version is really streamlined. There isn’t a big focus on why, or how. But just of what is happening right now, told through journal entries. Where 1984 adds in the emotion of the time period with the “Two Minutes Hate” and the relationship between Winston and Julia. However, Brave New World ramps it up even more with all the sex and Soma.
Even though I didn’t love this book like I do others in the genre, it was a really interesting book to see where the genre (mostly) originated.