We The Living.pdf
Ayn Rand wrote of her first novel, We the Living, “It is as near to an autobiography as I will ever write. The plot is invented, the background is not…The specific events of Kira’s life were not mine: her ideas, her convictions, her values, were and are.” We the Living depicts the struggle of the individual against the state, and the impact of the Russian Revolution on three human beings who demand the right to live their own lives and pursue their own happiness. It tells of a young woman’s passionate love, held like a fortress against the corrupting evil of a totalitarian state.
This classic novel is not a story of politics, but of the men and women who have to struggle for existence behind the banners and slogans.
A colossal love story with a massive philosophical framework. –Miami News
“There are a lot of people who dislike Ayn Rand. Whether for the rather didactic and lengthy sermons that populate most of the plots of her novels, or her own theories which tend to be underdeveloped and difficult to understand, she is not the most popular author or person in the philosophical realm. We the Living, however, is a book that one must read in order to change the perception of Rand doing what she does best: writing fiction.
The novel is a harsh look at communism in the post-Red revolution of Russia, following three people: Kira, a young, idealistic, woman who bourgeois family was left poverty-stricken following the revolt; Leo, an indifferent young man haunted by the Communists due his late father’s war glory; and Andrei, a Communist questioning his own beliefs in the system he has risen up in so quickly. Despite the fact that this novel is set in a far-away time and place to most of its readers, it is a book which I felt an extremely strong connection with. Everybody knows a Leo: flippant, handsome, could get any girl he wants — but he has serious character flaws, and tends to be abusive of Kira’s love for him. And Kira, the novel’s protagonist, is very similar to any youth of today: she does not understand the ideals of the Communist party, but she does know what she believes and is wholeheartedly committed to fulfilling the promise she had at birth.
The entire novel is beautifully written in moving prose that reflects both the harsh conditions for the people of Russia and the emotions felt between Kira, Andrei, Leo, and others as they attempt to make life better for themselves in a regime that denies them anything good without punishment. The climax of the novel is breathtaking — by the time the final words have been read, the reader is totally attached to the characters.
As with any other great novel of its time, We the Living not only characterizes the time period it is based in, but its characters live on as people of today’s world, in today’s capitalistic society. It questions the principles of freedom and what people will do for that freedom. This is Rand’s greatest work: the philosophy is subtle, with more emphasis on the plot and the characters, but is there. Whatever you may think of Ayn Rand, you must read this novel — it is a moving portrait of human life.” – Amazon Review
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About the Author
Ayn Rand’s first novel, We the Living, was published in 1936. With the publication of The Fountainhead in 1943, she achieved spectacular and enduring success. Through her novels and nonfiction writings, which express her unique philosophy, Objectivism, Rand maintains a lasting influence on popular thought.