Interesting and disturbing because of its historic context, Ayn Rand’s We the Living is utterly unremarkable.
The depiction of early Soviet Russia is not unique and seems exaggerated: After all, Rand, as many others, was able to leave. Nevertheless, the background of the story, the disturbing depiction of the living conditions and abuse in early Soviet Russia is the most powerful and interesting part of the novel.
The characters remain a bit “flat” – even though there is some change it is not really a development. Most of them are unrelatable and not credible. I did not like the protagonist and so I developed some sympathy for only one character: Andrei, the tragic communist.
The plot is not overly original. Girl meets boy, falls in love. Meets other boy, he falls in love. Girl chooses the wrong boy. Bad things happen. One dies, the other leaves. She finds a tragic and very unlucky accidental death herself.
Finally, the book was hard to read. I wanted to know how it all ends so I ploughed through it. The world has not become a better place because of it.