Author: Ayn Rand
Page Count: 105
Original Publication Date: 1938
Genre(s): Classics, Philosophy, Dystopian
I own the mass market paperback version of Anthem and I enjoy the cover a lot. Sometimes, simplicity is best.
Equality 7-2521 had been different since they were born, and they’d known it. They were always too smart, too questioning, too curious. They wanted to become a Scholar, even though personal preferences were strictly forbidden. And when they were 21 years old, they discovered something that would change their life forever — something worth all the sin and danger in the world. And they finally became a he.
So I don’t want to give too much away in this review because if I say too much, it’ll spoil the novella. With only 100 pages, Rand packs a philosophical punch with Anthem. It’s told in first-person POV from Equality 7-2521, though he refers to himself as “we.” In Anthem, there is no “I” — individuality is nonexistent and “I” isn’t even in their vocabulary. The brothers are a collective. It’s a little confusing at first, but you catch on to it quickly.
This is another Girlfriend Recommendation. I bought it a while ago and am glad to finally sit down to read it. I read Atlas Shrugged a couple years ago–which is about 10 times loner than this novella–and was amazed by it, so it comes as no surprise that I enjoyed Anthem with the same philosophical wonder. I was hesitant at first, though, due to previously reading We by Yevgeny Zamyatin, one of my favorite books of all time. The Goodreads synopsis of Anthem sounded far too similar to We. I did some research, though, and We was a direct inspiration to Rand, and many other dystopian writers of that time, which I thought was interesting but sad since Zamyatin died in poverty and I don’t think he was appreciated enough…
Anyway, sorry about that tangent. Anthem‘s plot had similar threads to We, but takes off with it in a different direction. The mood was similar, but it’s definitely a different and brilliant novel. It’s very interesting to read about future times like this, and if these kinds of things will happen one day.
Anthem is written like a journal or log, so it’s interesting to see Equality 7-2521’s thoughts progress, his childlike wonder and brilliant mind. He’s a very sympathetic character, and all you can do is root for the guy to make it out of that dreadful city and realize his full potential. It’s so wonderful to watch his character learn and grow.
It’s also fun to see his romance bloom with Liberty 5-3000, a female, one of the collective sisters. It’s amazing how something so simple as a kiss can be earth-shattering and mind-blowingly new for these people. I love it. I love reading about their discoveries.
Ayn Rand never ceases to amaze me. I have so much respect for this woman and always will, whether I agree or disagree with her philosophies. She is an excellent writer who can seamlessly blend her philosophical ideologies with fictional non-fictions. And I do agree with parts of her philosophy. When I read her works, I’ve never been so glad that I minored in philosophy, so that I already know the difference between objectivism and determinism, and things like that. I wish we could have studied Rand in class.
Like I said, I own the anniversary edition, so not only does it contain her first American edition, edited to her perfection (or as close as she could get), but it also contains a facsimile of the original English edition. It’s interesting to see her edits and her notes… She is brilliant, there’s no doubt about it.