Friday, September 3, 2010

Anthem- A Book Review

Title: Anthem

Author: Ayn Rand

Genre: Dystopian Fiction


You either love Ayn Rand or hate her. ( the latter far outnumbers the former) But you can still love her writing even if you don’t believe in her ideology. That is the problem most people face while reading Ayn Rand. They are simply not able to separate the quality of the woman’s writing from the ideology expressed in the same. That was probably the reason why people who saw me holding Anthem in my hand greeted me with a disapproving stare. I was introduced to Ayn Rand by a classmate of mine who recommended The Fountainhead to me. I was mesmerised by the indubitable profoundness and quality of Rand’s writing, at the same time bitterly disregarding her ideology as pure banana oil. However certain elements of her ideology came to be accepted by me, such as the futility of being abstemious purely for the sake of others, while other elements continue to remain hogwash in my eyes.

Anyway, Anthem is a novella takes place in a future where mankind has entered another dark age as a result of the evils of irrationality and the weaknesses of socialism. Anything and everything is strictly controlled and the concept of individuality has been eliminated (for example, the word "I" has disappeared from the language and everyone refers to individuals as “we”). Everyone is assigned their roles. There is an overwhelming sense of mundane routineness in the lives of the characters. Freedom of choice has been completely removed.

The protagonist of the story is Equality 7-2521, who defying all the laws of his dystopian future is trapped by the “disease” of curiosity and in a world of near zero technological advancement, he discovers electricity (which he refers to as “the power of the sky”) He works with International 4-8818 (His only friend in a world where friendship is not allowed as it indicates preference of one over the other) and Union 5-3992. What follows is a tale of curiosity, love and the will to be free and in essence, be oneself and not be controlled by other forces.

This book is short in words, yet in meaning profound. This book is Strictly NOT recommended for lovers of thrillers or Pulp fiction. This book was not written to please you. This book was written to stimulate your intellect. That is this book’s legacy.

Rating: 7/10

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