Both are works of political propaganda. And both portray a world in which the oppressors who are the evil Chicago capitalists in "The Jungle" and the Soviet government in "We the Living" can completely oppress anyone that they want. Granted that the political views of Sinclair and Rand are very different. But their political novels are very similar. It's ironic, isn't it? I am no fan of the Soviet government.
I really enjoyed Solzhenitzin's works that detail the oppression of the Soviet Union.
I have no doubts that many people suffered from the Soviet tyrrany in the s. But, please, even Solzhenitzin will acknowledge that the Soviet secret police were not Supermen. They could only do so much, in fact, must of the suffering that they caused was not because of their evil intent but rather because of their incompetence.
Another problem with Rand's novel is the same problem that exists in Rand's more well known novels, "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged. A healthy dose of narcissism. In fact, Rand's philosophy is the worship of the self, the dogma of narcissism. And narcissism, in literature as in life, leads to emptiness and disappointment. She falls in love with another pre-Soviet aristocrat named Leo, and she causes another man, Andrei the Soviet soldier and GPU agent, to fall in love with him.
Now, Tolstoy used the device of the love triangle to masterfully tell the story of Anna Karenina in the 19th Century. In that novel, the triangle caused a tremendous amount of agony for Anna and her lovers. But in "We the Living", the love triangle is really no big deal to Kira. When her two lovers find out about each other, bad things happen, as you could imagine. But Kira is not in the least concerned. This novel is heavy with the self-righteousness of Rand's philosophy. That makes it hard to work through most of the time.
Granted, there are a few places where the novel looks as though it will become interesting.
But it never really does. That's a shame, because Rand has a ton of things to work with, given her setting in s Russia, the love triangle, and her amoral outlook. But she can't get it done. In the end, the novel fizzles and dies. I would really not recommend this novel to anyone, unless that person is just absolutely in love with Ayn Rand, and even then it's iffy. It's really not worth reading "We the Living" if you can read any of those works. Sep 20, Lo rated it really liked it. I'm going to kind of branch out here and do a different review and talk just what I felt strongly about in this book.
If you would like a brief summary, wikipedia does an excellent job. Anyways, this book was one of the most devastatingly beautiful books I've ever read. The scene between Irina and Sascha broke my heart - it's one of the moments where, in typical Rand fashion, she weaves her characters into such real but horrendously tragic situations you just weep.
I would recommend this book to I'm going to kind of branch out here and do a different review and talk just what I felt strongly about in this book. I would recommend this book to some who is either a lacking motivation in their life b wants to know more from a fictional perspective what communism is like to live in c has had their heart broken by an ideal d Rand lovers. I want to focus on the love triangle of Andrei-Kira-Leo here. What this book gets at is three types of love and the chaos that descends from them.
We the Living () - IMDb
For Andrei, it's infatuation. Oh Andrei, he's wonderful. The more the book progresses, the more you just want to remove him from the story line and rescue him from the horrors contained in this book. He's the dashing communist who falls in love with the revolutionary Kira, a woman of pure passion and ideals. He fights it, but his infatuation for this woman who encompasses everything he has ever wanted in a woman takes over and turns him into her pawn.
Eventually, he breaks free, giving the ultimate sacrifice to Kira to show his "unending" re: Ultimately he well, spoiler loses, he takes his own life unable to bear to live without Kira. So, Kira; Yes, our strong female lead, modelled after Rand herself. She's beautiful, talented, intelligent, and most importantly she wants to live and experience more than anything.
The fight and drive of this girl is incredible and truly inspirational. While posing as a hooker one night, she "meets her one" Leo. She does everything for Leo on his command. At first, things are beautiful between them - they are each other's halves. They don't do things based on other's opinions, they act according to their passion which is primarily for each other.
Kira loves Leo, even after his transformation going to Crimea , where Leo changes drastically. Although carrying on a passionate affair with Andrei, she is loyal I know, it's a paradox to Leo always and that is the one ember that keeps her going, this all encompassing love. Even when Leo breaks her heart, she takes it and takes it out on other people and continues to passionately love him.
Kira, starting out promising, ends up being the most disappointing female Rand character yet. He starts out wonderful, as I said, Kira's other half. However, he gives up on everything at one point. He may have loved Kira at one point, but he never loves her above himself. I think the ending here with Leo was a little farfetched, but essentially, Leo is an entirely selfish being. I give Kira this, the point Rand is trying to make is that without communism, Leo would have been the man for Kira, the one she first met. However, after he loses all hope, he becomes an alcoholic and mentally abusive towards Kira especially in his frustration over her being the breadwinner.
Leo becomes a character towards the end that you shake your head at and wonder how someone could be so ungrateful and so miserable. If only Kira had gone abroad with Andrei to live happily forever. But that isn't the way Rand wanted it; she wanted to show two things. One, obviously, communism is evil duh, it's a Rand book and 2 blinding love will destroy who you are.
I think she tries to redeem Kira in the end there, but Kira's failure to pursue the life of her dreams is a total failure in my mind, and she sacrificed all her opportunities for a glimmer of the Leo she first new. That is not solid advice to offer the younger generations Miss Rand, but at least in my mind, she conveys this solidarity in true love Irina and Sascha vs the destructive love Andrei, Kira.
Read if you get a chance; The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged have better defined characters, yet as Rand's first novel, We the Living leaves its mark on the reader. Oct 07, Rob rated it liked it. This book helped clear up some of Rand's religious philosophy. At one point, the Heroin asks a friend if he believes in God. When the friend answers no, she says that was the right answer, because if you believe in God then you don't believe in life. She goes on to explain that when people believe in God they believe in something higher than themselves that they can never achieve, and she doesn't want to believe that there is something she can never achieve.
I found her reason for being an athei This book helped clear up some of Rand's religious philosophy. I found her reason for being an atheist ironic. Sep 14, Jack Gardner rated it it was amazing. I really don't know that there is much I can say about this novel that hasn't already been said.
1936 & 1959
We The Living is the most tragic of Ayn Rand's novels and possibly the most under appreciated. While it is clearly an early effort for her - her use of English is occasionally off and her style is not consistent throughout the novel - the story line is the most I hate to use this word, but I can't think of a better way to put it realistic of all her novels. There are no amazing machines or amazing I really don't know that there is much I can say about this novel that hasn't already been said.
There are no amazing machines or amazing feats in We The Living , the most amazing thing that anyone does is survive under the early Communist rule. However, the survivors are the villains of the book. Rand never allows her heroes to exist under tyranny. Kira and Andrei struggle against it in their own individual ways, one choosing death over a life of lost ideals and the other dying in an attempt to escape. Holding on to the idea of the individual must have been impossible in early Communist Russia. Rand should know - she escaped Russia in We The Living is probably one of the most accurate pieces of literature we have to depict what life was like under the initial Communist regimes.
The 'great idea' that fueled the Revolution of turned in to what can only be called a 'great mess' that lasted for nearly 80 years and has still not completely resolved itself. If you are interested in life in the 's, We the Living is a must read book. The people of Russia had a very different experience with this decade compared to those of Europe and the US. While for much of the decade the big cities of the Western world were the Land of Plenty, the general Russian population was suffering hardships that made the poorest mid-western farmer seem to be living the life of a King.
We the Living is a testament to man's ability to survive. It is a testament to Rand and held the seeds to her philosophy. It is an encouragement to all of us to strive to be the best we can be - even when the world is against us. It is also a warning to reason before revolt and to express as opposed to repress. You can take away an mans home, you can take away his possessions, you can take away his family, you can take his life, but his mind and soul are his and his alone unless he chooses to give them to you.
It is a reminder to all of us, that every individual has that choice to make every day. The one great benefit of reading We the Living is that it encapsulates pretty exactly what Rand spends many hundreds more pages doing in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead: I find Rand's philosophy beyond problematic, but to my mind We the Living helps explain just how she arrived at the ideas she entertained and The one great benefit of reading We the Living is that it encapsulates pretty exactly what Rand spends many hundreds more pages doing in Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead: I find Rand's philosophy beyond problematic, but to my mind We the Living helps explain just how she arrived at the ideas she entertained and became the person she did.
It's not precisely an autobiography only, as she demurs, "in the intellectual sense" but her descriptions of life in Soviet Russia are drawn from personal experience, and it's not difficult to see how that kind of traumatic personal experience could drive someone to the opposite philosophical extreme. I offer no theories whatsoever on what makes her romantic relationships so ridiculously rape-tastic. Because that way lies madness. Frankly, your mileage may vary with Rand depending on your political beliefs, but if you have to read something just to be able to engage in a conversation about her, I'd say start here.
It's an early work, but I can promise from painful experience that her writing style never improves, so you might as well go for the short one. For the love of all that's holy, avoid Anthem! Mar 29, Patrick Peterson rated it it was amazing Shelves: I liked this book the best of Ayn Rand's three big fiction books, as a novel. Perhaps it was because it was so very autobiographical in some ways of her time in St. The gritty realism of just how unjust and difficult such a system the Soviet Socialist Union was becoming appeals to my love of historical realism.
The passionate love affairs and beliefs of the characters were very vividly drawn. Even though I have not read it fully in over 30 years, I liked this book the best of Ayn Rand's three big fiction books, as a novel. Even though I have not read it fully in over 30 years, but read it twice in the previous 10, the characters, plot, setting and theme will not be forgotten.
Alida Valli was mesmerizingly great as the main character, Kira, and it was the later film star Rossano Brazzi's first movie. Several other great Italian actors were in it too, and their performances added richly to the movie. The script stayed quite close to the book, except in one or two places where the censors had to be appeased. Book and movie - highly recommended.
View all 14 comments. Jan 28, Miso rated it it was amazing Shelves: Duuschlaa gjuu dee, jaahan haramsal Dec 02, Calzean rated it really liked it Shelves: It reads like a Russian novel.
We the Living
Kira the beautiful young woman, Leo the dark handsome lover and Andrei the Communist disciple and lover of Kira. Kira and Leo are on the outer of the post revolution Russia with chequered family pasts and a belief in individual freedom. They struggle against a system that has no interest in people like them. There are inevitable deaths. Slowly the communist honeymoon ends and the return to a system that runs unofficially through the black market, black mail, corrup It reads like a Russian novel.
Slowly the communist honeymoon ends and the return to a system that runs unofficially through the black market, black mail, corruption and greed. Jul 20, Ani rated it it was amazing. A must read so you can appreciate how lucky you are Apr 02, Shanta Shastri rated it it was amazing. Uncovers all effects when an impossible and irrational ideal is adapted by a country.
Como no quiero alargarme demasiado voy directa al grano, comentando virtudes y problemas de esta novela, y lo que espero en el futuro de otras novelas de Ayn Rand. Sus jardines son concesiones hechas de mala gana a la naturaleza. La voluntad de un hombre lo hizo surgir en un lugar donde los hombres no hubieran pensado nunca establecer una vivienda. En el fragmento anterior se puede atisbar algo relativo al objetivismo, y es el amor hacia las obras humanas. Y, por supuesto, el objetivismo rechaza la creencia en Dios. Reemplazas la figura, pero al final para mi es lo mismo.
Sobre todo si luego quieres que hagan cosas por ti. Para el colmo Kira les dice a sus padres que es que estaba en casa de la prima. Nada justifica que trates a una persona mal, nada. Hemos dicho que tenemos un triangulo amoroso, pues el pagafantas de la historia se llama Andrei y es comunista. Pero es un comunista bueno, dentro de la G. U pero bueno; no mata blancos a la primera.
Bueno, que al final todos acaban liados. Al margen de Andrei, Kira no tiene amigos. Y no lo critico, puesto que Kira dice que le gusta la soledad y desprecia a la gente…aunque no dude en convertir al primer hombre que conoce en el pilar de su existencia. De hecho confieso que lo he pasado muy mal en algunas partes de la novela. La verdad es que, en general, no me ha gustado la novela. Sep 12, Uninvited rated it it was amazing. Brett's decision was not without controversy within Macmillan. Associate editor Granville Hicks , then a member of the American Communist Party , was strongly opposed to publishing Rand's novel.
Rand later said that Brett was unsure whether the novel would turn a profit, but he thought it was a book that ought to be published. The first edition was issued on April 7, The initial American publication of We the Living was not a commercial success. Macmillan did not expect the novel to sell and did little marketing. Eighteen months after its release, the novel was out of print. There was also a British publication by Cassell in January , and editions were published in Denmark and Italy. These did considerably better than the American release, remaining in print into the s.
Its success motivated them to republish We the Living in In preparation for the new edition, Rand made some changes to the text. In her Foreword to the revised edition, Rand declared that "In brief, all the changes are merely editorial line changes.
In the first edition,  Kira said to Andrei, "I loathe your ideals. I admire your methods. The significance of these and other revisions has been debated. Rand scholar Mimi Reisel Gladstein commented, "She claims that the revision was minimal. Some readers of both editions have questioned her definition of 'minimal'.
Canadian writer Barbara Branden said that "Some of her readers were disturbed when they discovered this and similar changes",  but insisted that "unlike Nietzsche, she rejected as unforgivably immoral any suggestion that the superior man had the right to use physical force as a means to his end. Nearly everyone who reads We the Living today reads the second edition. The first is a rare book; the second has sold over three million copies.
Berliner says "it was the most reviewed of any of her works", with approximately different reviews being published in more than publications. Overall these reviews were mixed, but more positive than the reviews she received for her later work. When the book was released in Australia, it received several positive reviews. In the Australian Women's Weekly , news editor Leslie Haylen described the novel as "very vivid, human, and wholly satisfying", saying it described Russian life without taking sides. Rand scholar Mimi Reisel Gladstein compared it to two of her later novels, saying, "While it does not have the power of The Fountainhead or the majestic sweep of Atlas Shrugged , We the Living is still a compelling story about interesting characters.
Shortly after the novel was published, Rand began negotiations with Broadway producer Jerome Mayer to do a theatrical adaptation. It opened under the title The Unconquered at the Biltmore Theatre on February 13, , but closed just five days later after scathing reviews. The play was not published during Rand's lifetime. In , Palgrave Macmillan published a volume with both the final script and an earlier version, edited by Robert Mayhew.
We the Living was published in an Italian translation in Prior to their release, the films were nearly censored by Mussolini 's government, but they were permitted because the story itself was set in Soviet Russia and was directly critical of that regime. The films were successful, and the public easily realized that they were as much against fascism as communism. After several weeks, German authorities, who were allied with the Italian government, insisted that the film be pulled from distribution because of its anti-Fascist themes.
Rediscovered in the s through the efforts of Rand's lawyers, Erika Holzer and Henry Mark Holzer, these films were re-edited into a new version with English subtitles composed by Erika Holzer and revision co-producer Duncan Scott. This version, approved by Rand and her estate, was re-released as We the Living in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see We the Living disambiguation. Still unaware of Kira's relationship with Leo, Andrei urges Kira to escape with him to the West-an idea that was once contrary to everything he believed in.
Kira rejects his plan. Later, Andrei learns that Communist party members are behind the black market venture. Any revolutionary idealism he still has left is destroyed when Andrei reports his findings to the party bosses and they order him to arrest only one man: Andrei discovers a closet full of Kira's clothes, revealing what he assumes is her infidelity.
Kira arrives home as Leo is taken away and is left alone with the enraged Andrei. Kira unleashes her fury at Andrei for being part of a system that forced her and Leo into a desperate struggle for their lives. Andrei's once-proud purpose in life is now utterly shattered, yet his worship of Kira is restored. In full knowledge of the consequences, he arranges to have Leo set free and, confronting his former comrades, denounces the system he fought for all his life.
He returns to his flat and takes his own life. Leo, home from prison, confronts Kira over her affair with Andrei and announces that he is leaving her forever. Kira, realizing that Leo's spirit has been forever crushed out of him, chooses not to reveal the real motivation behind her relationship with Andrei.