I have been wanting to read Metro 2033 for a long time, and finally did it. It had a beautifully gloomy ending, being Russian of course…
- I am not an expert on Russian fiction – I have essentially read what I’m supposed to read from the canon of Russian lit according to the West, with the addition of the Arkady and Bulgakov. Still, I am struggling to imagine a more cataclysmic and typical Russian ending than this…
- Artyom discovers at the very end that the Dark Ones are actually mutated humans who can survive the hellscape, and who want to help the rest of humanity.
- The humans kill them anyway, and Artyom essentially commits suicide.
- In the Metro all different types of ideologies have recreated themselves – capitalists, fascists, communists. Glukhovsky treats each differently, although he I think demonstrates some nostalgia for the very first days of the Revolution as Red Army partisans rescue Artyom from the fascists.
- The novel takes no joy in being able to negotiate the dystopia, unlike lots of Western novels. The stalkers (those who go to the surface for supplies) are manly men, without a doubt, and represent idealized masculinity, but they mostly run from the creatures on the surface.
- The mutants are imaginative, with Librarians turned into frightening werewolves almost who still don’t like noise in the library.
- There are lots of attempts among the Metro residents to address their existential crises. Artyom meets all kinds of folks and has all kinds of dreams, most of which are nightmares. Some of the philosophers are barely disguised, and anyone who is not hyper-masculine and who meets Artyom dies.
- My guess is that Glukhovsky is less interested in philosophy than he is interested in understanding how humanity got here…