Thursday, 29 May 2014

Phenomenal Woman - Maya Angelou

Yesterday witnessed the passing of Maya Angelou, an incredible writer with an early personal history that few would wish to have but which continued to influence her writing throughout her life.  'I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings' was the book that brought her to the attention of the world, dealing with her early life including rape, sexism and identity. She published a further 35 books including poetry, essays and autobiographies. 

Friday, 9 May 2014

'We' - quick review

WeWe by Yevgeny Zamyatin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The edition of 'We' that I read was the 1959 translation by Gregory Zillborg, where the totalitarian world dominated by the Well-Doer is known as United State (this differs from many reviews I have seen that refer to One State).

The reader is introduced into the dystopian world through the journal of D-503, builder of the Integral and a once content member of society, more than comfortable with his manner of living, until he happens upon I-330; and so his world unravels.

The unravelling of D's world is reflected in the unravelling of his previously well-ordered mind. Piece by piece, all that he thought was perfect, well-ordered and controlled by the Well-Doer is seen for what it really is - though he fights against this realisation as best he can.

The influence upon Orwell's '1984' is evident, including providing an ending in which I was disappointed (hence only 4 stars). Despite this, it is a work that grabs you and in light of recent uprisings around the world, where the people are making their voices heard and fighting against dictatorial regimes, it is very poignant.

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