©1936 Ayn Rand; (P)1991 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Just days before twenty-one year old Alisa Rosenbaum escaped Leninist Russia to sail for the United States, she was enjoined by a friend to tell the world that "Russia is a huge cemetery and we are all dying." We The Living, by that same young emigre, writing now in English and calling herself Ayn Rand, was the result. It is the most accurate portrayal of life in the late workers' paradise ever committed to words. It is also a compelling work of art, and harbinger of the greatness to come.
Though the least explicitly philosophic of Ayn Rand's novels, We The Living was for me, because of its emotional intensity, the most difficult to read. Kira's relationships with Leo and Andre, her perseverance vis-a-vis the hopelessness of her situation--her struggle to breathe in a wretchedly airless environment--were nearly more than I could bear.
Listen, cry, learn, and rejoice. If you are not already familiar with the works of Ayn Rand, this is a marvelous place to begin.
I love espionage, legal, and detective thrillers but listen to most genres. Very frequent reviews. No plot spoilers! Please excuse my typos!
Alisa Zinov'yevna Rosenbaum, who wrote using the pen name Ayn Rand, arrived in the US from Russia at age 26 in 1931 unable to speak English. A mere five years later she wrote her first novel in English titled We the Living. The story is of a young woman's life under communism and ultimately he escape from the USSR to freedom. The most important aspects of the book are about the deterioration of the lives of middle class Russians after the communists took control in 1917. Alisa Rosenbaum not only wrote using the pen name Ayn Rand but lived using that name.
We the Living is a good and well written book, but it does not measure up to the quality of her later works of fiction. It is still well worth an audible credit.
I love Ayn Rand's writing. This book (like many of her others) is classic.
This audiobook lay dormant in my library for quite a while as the sound quality was not great. It sounds like it was recorded on magnetic tape which became damaged or has aged prematurely. They should really re-record it the way they did Atlas Shrugged. It would be fantastic if Scott Brick narrated it like he did for that book.
If you are sensitive to sound quality you might find this harder to listen to.
Ayn Rand stands head and shoulders above most authors in her ideology. She understood what makes the world work-best. As to literature We The Living was her best effort. I feel that because she lived most of it, the story was easy to write because it was her story.
Mary Woods reading of Ayn Rand's novel/bio was marvelous with her accent just where it should be and still be easy listening, Great job all around on this one.
This novel is one of my favorites. Rand was able to depict the despair of living under a totalitarian regime very well. Coming from Soviet Russia myself, I can say that not many things have changed from birth to collapse of the Communist State.
The only thing I didn't like was the production. The narrator reads without any emphasis, and at times way too fast. One will probably get more out of reading it, rather than listening to this production.
I have sort of a love/hate relationship with this book. It is so intense and maddening, although I believe it is an accurate portrayal of Russia during the post Bolshevik Revolution times. Ayn Rand was such a powerful writer. After finishing this book I had to get a lighter one.
Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.
I had very high hopes for We the Living . . . and parts of the story, the true historical parts of communist Russia, were very good . . . I listened intently and sadly as the young, idealistic men eagerly joined "the party", believing the garbage that they were being spoon fed. But I was deeply disappointed in the story of Kira, who was no more free than the communist government that she so despised. I tried and tried to like her, to root for her, but to no avail. She, just like her communist counterparts, justified her own actions, and was not above prostituting herself. You see, that is what happens when you deny that there is a God and you become your OWN God. Ayn Rand's hatred of socialist/communism and worship of freedom above all else . . . I'm afraid it may have made her blind to the only true freedom that is lasting.
Classic Ayn Rand themes. The look into Russian past was fascinating. The story moved a lot slower than with Fountain Head and Atlas Shrugged for me. I found it much easier to connect with Howard Roark and Hank Rearden and Dagney Taggart. But the story was solid and eye opening. I can see the progression of her beliefs through her writings. Calling this the 'closet thing to a biography I have ever written', you can definitely see where her believe in the Individual above all else came from!
Still a huge fan. But if you're new to Rand, start with Fountain Head or Atlas Shrugged.
Many sections were so rushed it was difficult to picture the scene. These portions were fairly short though. The performance as a whole wasn't bad.
"Petrograd smelt of carbolic acid"
You don’t have to buy into Rand’s philosophy to enjoy this book. An engaging story and interesting portrait of the decay of Bolshevism in the 1920s. Excellent narration – although I can imagine that some may not take to the voice (so listen to the audio sample).
"Objectivism - the fountainhead of folly"
Ayn Rand is a made up name - Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum, Objectivism is a made up philosophy - Subjectivism of the highest order, actually. Lingering descriptions of what a pretty girl Kira Argounova is and endless details as to what she and the other female characters are wearing at any given point in the 'action,' seem to be the basis for this paeān to early twentieth century American capitalism. How ironic that the wild west unfettered capitalism that was unleashed on the post-Mikhail Gorbachev Soviet bloc by Reagan's proto-neo-con zealots is now blowing a wintery chill back through the pipelines of Gazprom. Rand's anti-totalitarian dream extends no further than a pair of silk stockings and the ability to manipulate one-dimensional males. Compare and contrast this one with Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' - worthy in aims but lacking in literary quality. Great to read around and nice to have the authentic voice but really, Miss Rand, there's more to life than French lingerie.
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