Equality 7-2521 is a man apart. Since the Great Rebirth it has been a crime in his world to think or act as an individual. Even love is forbidden. Yet, since his childhood in the Home of the Infants, Equality 7-2521 has felt that he is different. When he is sent by the Council of Vocations to work as a road sweeper, he stumbles upon a link to the old world that gives him the spur to break free. First published in England in 1938, Ayn Rand’s short dystopian novel crystalises the ideas of individualism and competition that would make her name. (Book Depository)
Science fiction is not one of my favourite genre but I am all the better for having read this early dystopian novella by Ayn Rand.
The book title is apt, as the novella presents what could be described as an anthem of individualism.
Rand’s Anthem is a short but moving exploration of the power of the words ‘we‘ and ‘I‘. It shows how taken to the extreme on mass each of these words can evoke singlemindness leading to oppression that could prove disastrous to mankind.
Although the subject matter might sound high-brow, Rand’s skill is in that the prose is extremely accessible. Not one word is used unnecessarily. I listened to Anthem in audiobook and narrator Jason McCoy’s delivery is stirring and evocative without sounding preachy – listen to an audio sample.
The simple and valuable message of Anthem is that the care for others must be carefully balanced with care for oneself, and one cannot truly exist without the other.
BOOK RATING: The Story 5 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5
Genre: Literature, Sci-Fi -Fantasy
Author Information: Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum (1905 – 1982), was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. Rand wrote Anthem in 1938, very early in her career. She is best known for her two best-selling novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism. (Wikipedia.org)