We the Living


This Christmas was my worst Christmas ever.

The political uncertainty in the country spoiled all my plans during the year and then the border closure spoiled Christmas for the whole nation.

Before the closure of the border in August this year, the price of a bag of rice was N7,000.

By Christmas, the price of a bag of rice had gone to N27,000.

There is a lot of talk about people leaving the country.

I have decided to stay.

When people cannot go forward, they go back to a place where it all makes sense.

I would go back to the past and read We the Living by Ayn Rand.

This post is a review of the book from my perspective as a Nigerian living in Lagos, Nigeria.

Characters and Plot

The Wikipedia entry on We the Living already contains the plot for the book.

The three main characters are: Kira Argounova, Leo Kovalensky and Andrei Taganov.

The book starts off with Kira on a train with her family returning back to Petrograd.

It describes the living standards in the country at the year 1922 and how bad things were in Russia.

The Proletarian are the bottom class before the revolution but after the revolution become pushed up the ranks.

Kira falls in love with Leo but when he falls sick and is nearing death, she has to go to Andrei who is a party member and a member of the secret police and becomes his mistress.

The book take you on a journey detailing how the world around Kira crumbles until finally, she loses everything

In desperation, she tries to escape Russia and is shot at the border.

Nigerian Context

This book mirrors life in Nigeria at the moment.

This year, the government closed the border and the prices of food stuff when up.

The quality of life went down.

Seeing similarities with Russia at the time helps you know that the world moves on.


During the course of reading the book, I would fall into despair.

However, as the book progressed, I realized that unlike Kira who wanted to become and engineer, I was one.

Unlike her, I wasn’t locked in.

I could travel.

Most importantly, I had the web.


As the future of Nigeria becomes in doubt, most people will be looking for how to escape.

This book showed my how bad it could get but filled me with ideas on how to protect myself in the years ahead.