Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Fountainhead - Ayn Rand

I didn't actually finish reading The Fountainhead. After enduring one third of this appalling book I simply gave up. This is not because of my thoughts on Rand's self centred philosophy (I wouldn't have bothered starting it if that were the case, plus there are aspects of this philosophy that I subscribe to), but rather to do with the fact that it is poorly written, overlong to the point that calling it bloated would be an understatement, repetitive, one note both tonally and in a narrative sense, and features bland, self important, one dimensional characters.

There are many things in the world that I don't like that other people do. In most of these cases, however, I can understand the appeal - at least to some extent. This leaves me with one question about this novel (and presumably Atlas Shrugged) - what on earth do its fans see in it? What is there in this novel that is of value, that makes it worth reading, apart from the fact that it is famous (not a good reason at all).  Perhaps reading it to its conclusion would enlighten me, but a quick read of the synopsis on Wikipedia suggests that the final two-thirds are as much an exercise in endurance as the first.

I can only imagine that the theme of unappreciated genius that perseveres in the face of an apathetic and sometimes downright hostile society holds some appeal to people, but in the case of this book that theme is presented with such precious little subtlety and with such an excess of childish simplicity that this theory seems unlikely; still, it's all I've got!

This marks my first and last foray into the writings of Ayn Rand.

7 comments:

dbackdad said...

Atlas Shrugged is basically one long rant. The John Galt speech is 70 pages long! 1 speech ... 1 character. It's self-indulgent crap that I can't believe I read and is the reason I've never read The Fountainhead.

rohit said...

Must be an enjoyable read The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand. loved the way you wrote it. I find your review very genuine and orignal, this book is going in by "to read" list.

Antimatter said...

I've heard of the John Galt speech - it sounds ludicrous. Nearly 300 pages of The Fountainhead is enough Rand for a lifetime I reckon!

CyberKitten said...

I have 'toyed' with the idea of reading Rand from time to time. After the review and dbackdad's comment I'll most definitely give it a miss!

dbackdad said...

Oh, CK, you have to experience it yourself. One can't get a true appreciation of the ego that is Ms. Rand without submersing yourself. And then promptly cursing oneself for having lost those several hours of your life. :-)

CyberKitten said...

Lie is far too short for such 'experiences'.

Antimatter said...

I'm sort of in agreement with dbackdad on this one, one has to experience at least a bit of this book to appreciate how woeful it is. But yes, ultimately it was time wasted that I shall never get back!