12 February, 2012

Ayn Rand - The Fountainhead

After finishing By The River Piedra I Sat Down And Wept, I was checking with my friends what to pick up next.Some  suggested Ayn Rand, thinking I am a fan of philosophical reading. Few ardent fan of her writing, while others not very impressed with it. Then I enquired with my trusted expert Prajkta about this ( I know this name frequents here, but being my original Book Buddy, it is ok ;) ).She was kind of delighted hearing the name. Sure, she had it and she gave it to me with an offer - if I finish the book and liked it, I can keep it !!! The book was with her for quite some time ( gifted by her hard-core Ayn Rand fan sister ), but she never was able to read it more than 10 pages! 

The book is a classic. I mean the kind of books we keep in our shelf, but never read. But I survived it, not for the offer, but for some reason I thought to myself that I can and should complete it. Danielle Steel's The Wedding also was boring thick book. Compared to The Fountainhead, there the story was moving, though in a predictive soap kind of development. The version I read of The Fountainhead was the Centennial Edition, which came with the author's note. When I read the author's note in The Alchemist, I was very excited about the book, and the way the book presented completely in agreement with it. Here Ayn Rand states she didn't changed the original manuscript of the book, save one typo. That's exactly what went wrong. The book is too thick, more than 700 pages, and with small prints; if it was printed the way Coelho books are printed, it will coolly exceed 2000 pages. If the book was edited short, it would have been a better experience for the readers. There was one occasion when the two main male protagonists have a long talk in a yacht, the author had clarity. Because that was something she wanted to say with the book. Those few pages, therefore had meaning and interesting. Other than that, even the climax court scene, where the hero supposed to show the world about his battle, she badly lacks clarity. Even after a second read, the climax scene didn't appeal to me.
The book was supposed to be a philosophy inspired fiction. May be I read a lot of Paulo Coelho, who is a master of the genre, I found this boring, way too dragging, and most of it dry. Coelho's writing has a quality of life-like. Though I never been to such places or incidents, I could relate myself with them. Every book of him, made me go back and read again to reveal the magic of his thoughts deep. I liked the idea Ayn Rand wanted to discuss. Because I feel that if I cannot keep myself happy and content, I cannot expect to do the same to others. And unless I do justice to my self, my ideologies, my faith, I cannot make myself happy. I cannot be happy for long, following other's ideals. The way that presented in the book is dry, if not hopeless. In the novel she describes about the manipulative critics who made the craps legendary by forcing their idea to the readers and making them feel the book / play indeed is great. I guess the greatness of this book also might be explained so !

Being the 100th print, it also had an afterward section, by Leonard Peikoff, her heir. There he mentioned that Rand used to keep a note of main character’s name and personalities in a notebook. Man, now that is awesome! When an author forgets about her characters, what the poor readers supposed to feel! If you dare yourself to pick this book, I warn you, you should never lose the bookmark, for you won't be able to figure out where you left last time ! The story doesn't have a flow and most of it is just unnecessary elaboration, you may not be able to remember whether you read it or not!

About Prajkta's offer.. well, though I read it once, I was sure I won't do it again and not to kill her chance of fooling another soul with the offer, I returned it ;)


  1. The Fountain Head - A brilliant novel by a visionary, Ayn Rand changed the way people perceive things. An involved reader would identify a part of thyself with the three central characters, be it Howard Roark, Peter Keating or Gail Wynand. The importance of a "THINKING MIND" is verily depicted in the book. The primary motive of a task is not money neither name nor fame, but, just the love and passion of doing it - How true and remarkable!!!! This novel certainly changed my way of looking at and comprehending various subjects of objectivism, collectivism and human behaviour. The two scenes - First wherein, Keating goes to Roark for design of Cortlandt Homes and final court scene; stand out in terms of narration and intellectual capacity. For me its an amazing book which should be read re-read and read many a time. It is definitely a timeless classic to be in our libraries for life. I have completed reading it for the sixth time and it amazes me time and again . Kudos to Ayn Rand!!!!

    1. Hi Mirza Ghalib,
      Good to see you enjoyed the book a lot. To me, I felt the book was preachy and too big and too slow... I am not against mild philosophical book ( I enjoy Paulo Coelho ) but this was a tiresome read.. May be I need to read it again to grasp the meaning well and complete...

      Thank you for posting your view...


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