First published in England in 1938, Ayn Rand’s short dystopian novel Anthem crystalises the ideas of individualism and competition that would make her name.
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. (Book Depository)
Science fiction has not historically been one of my favourite genre but I am all the better for having listened to this 2 hour Ayn Rand audiobook.
The story’s title is apt, as it presents what could be described as an ANTHEM of individualism.
Ayn Rand’s novella is a 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 this subject matter might sound high-brow, Rand’s skill is in that the prose is extremely accessible. Not one word is used unnecessarily.
Anthem audiobook narrator Jason McCoy’s delivery is stirring and evocative without sounding preachy – listen to an audiobook 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
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About the Author, Ayn Rand
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)
Other reviews of Anthem
“Anthem is essentially the future that awaits the world of Atlas Shrugged if its protagonists fail in their struggle — and, Rand suggests, it is the future that awaits all of us if the sacred value of individuality is rejected or suppressed.” — Laissez Faire
“This fine short novel is an excellent introduction to her passionate political philosophy and her emotional polemical style.” — Brothers Judd