Book: The Fountainhead

Author: Ayn Rand

Rating: 4/5

The Fountainhead- Ayn Rand

Meet Howard Roark, the protagonist, the fountainhead of creativity and innovation. Howard is an excellent and ingenious architect who wants to design buildings that reflect novelty: architecture as it should be and not as it has been. His fellow architects (both novice and pros); however, believe in copying the existing designs. They shun anyone who challenges the old or the stereotype and; therefore, do everything in their reach to destroy Howard. Howard, ruled by a relentless passion for his vocation, his conviction and adamancy, stands alone against the entire gang and lives through the fight between Collectivism and Objectivism. Which ideology/philosophy wins in the end is something that the reader follows in this novel.

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Social/Historical context:

The novel presents America as it was in the mid 20 century. The times described in the novel will give you an impression of America’s prosperity and economic boom; especially in the building construction industry. The society described in the novel is modern comprising glamorous people who waste a lot of money in socializing and partying just to flaunt their prosperity, status and power. The society boycotts anyone who is not like them or doesn’t want to become like them and it empowers the sycophants. The print media (Newspapers) has been shown very powerful in the story. You will see Newspapers making or breaking people’s career and reputation in society throughout the novel.

Writing Style:

This is a character-driven story so characters and their individual life rule the plot of the story. Ayn Rand’s characterization is well thought and developed. Howard Roark has been described as the idealist, and he remains that throughout the novel. The other three characters in the novel—Peter Keating, Ellsworth Toohey and Gail Wynand—represent the realistic shades of human nature. The heroine—Dominique Francon—is peculiar and difficult to fathom! This is a third person narrative combined with conversations between the characters. The author is the narrator. The language used is the novel is sophisticated, professional and flawless. The dominating theme of the novel is Individuality and Objectivism. Love is a sub-theme of the novel. Ayn Rand along with been a great writer, was a brilliant philosopher and her philosophies form the basis of this novel and many of her other novels.

My Thoughts:

The Fountainhead is a great stimulant to the mind. It will make you contemplate about ideologies like Collectivism, Individualism, Altruism etc. It will enlighten you about the human parasites/second-handers. Also, it unmasks those who are hell bent on killing the spirit of individualism and want to empower mediocrity because individualism promotes the genius of human mind and mediocrity kills that genius. The only flipside of the novel is its length. It’s too long and is a true test of your patience. It’s like you are reading the lifetimes of five different characters. This also breaks the natural flow of the story sometimes.

Book Reviewed by Suchandra Ganguly

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