Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Book Review of The Fountainhead


I love this book! (insert picture of Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah's couch pumping his fists) Honestly, there are some books that are life changing and for me this is that book. I can't believe that I had never come across The Fountainhead or Ayn Rand before (and I studied English in university!). Apparently though, it's not everyone's cup of tea. If you peruse the reviews on GoodReads you will find comments that bash both the book and Ayn Rand's philosophy. I think it's either a book you get or don't and I got it (I think!)

For a novel that was written in 1943, it reads very modern today. What I loved most about the book was that it was masterfully plotted. Rand sets up the conflict early on between two young architects attempting to make their careers in 1920's New York city. Ambitious, people pleasing Peter Keating provides a foil to the brilliant but antisocial Howard Roark. As Keating rises to the top of the architectural world, Roark remains an outcast yet Keating can't seem to break the bond that Roark holds over him. From the very beginning, you know how the book will end, must end, but that doesn't keep you from obsessively reading it.The secondary characters, specifically Ellsworth Toohey, Dominique Francon and Gail Wynand, are some of the most original and finely drawn characters that I have ever come across. But because I could fawn over this book forever here's the short list -

You Will Like This Book If:

- you love novels set in New York and/or the Flapper Age (see The Great Gatsby)
- you've ever wondered how the lowest common denominator in the Arts (aka Reality Television) became so popular
- you want to learn more about the practice and art of architecture
- you are an Objectivist (you'l have to read the book to see if you are)
- you like reading books of almost 700 pages

Truth be told, the primary reason I picked up The Fountainhead in the first place was because I am trying to read some of the classics that I somehow missed along the way to adulthood. But now, I would definitely call myself a fan of both the book and Ayn Rand. In fact I'm looking forward to reading Atlas Shrugged next (after a short break of reading other stuff - my brain can only take so much growth at a time!)

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