The Fountainhead

ISBN: 0452286751
ISBN 13: 9780452286757
By: Ayn Rand

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About this book

A special edition hardcover in celebration of Ayn Rand's centennial. When it was first published in 1943, The Fountainhead--containing Ayn Rand's daringly original literary vision with the seeds of her groundbreaking philosophy, Objectivism?won immediate worldwide acclaim. This instant classic is the story of an intransigent young architect, his violent battle against conventional standards, and his explosive love affair with a beautiful woman who struggles to defeat him. This centennial edition of The Fountainhead, celebrating the controversial and eduring legacy of its author, features an afterword by Rand's literary executor, Leonard Peikoff, offering some of Ayn Rand's personal notes on the development of her masterwork. ?A writer of great power. She has a subtle and ingenious mind and the capacity of writing brilliantly, beautifully, bitterly.? --The New York Times

Reader's Thoughts

Lisa

Ayn Rand has written some of the most undistinguished prose in the English language. Moreover, her politics are appalling.Ironically, the most common pick-up line I've been given over the course of my life involves random drunk dude #243 ascertaining my intelligence, believing that he's more apt to get me to give up my number (or my virtue) if I believe him to be intelligent, too -- so he busts out something about "The Fountainhead" or "Atlas Shrugged", or suggests that I am unusually stimulating and intellectual for a woman -- like Ayn Rand.Another interesting fun fact: there is an Ayn Rand foundation that GIVES her books to high schools, which I like to think is the reason they are still in print.

brian

yesterday i spent the day mainlining bookface and discovered that one of the most reviled books on the site was the fountainhead. i can think of a few reasons:1) for some reason or other, as humans, it feels good (perhaps a marker of personal progress?) to reject or condescend to that which we once loved. (a corollary of our love of schadenfreude, of watching the fall of the rich/powerful/famous?) (see also: catcher in the rye and on the road)2) as an overwhelming majority of bookfacers fall on the liberal end of the spectrum, perhaps they find the residual conservative drool all over the book a bit yukky?3) the philosophy is unrealistic; the characters are stand-ins, mouthpieces, wooden fantasy archetypes; the plot is full of contrivances; at its best the prose is serviceable, at worst, it's cringeworthy.4) its themes of personal accountability scare the shit out of people. i found this book terrifically useful in high school. with not enough life experience to understand why i was perpetually on the outside, i read the fountainhead and reconfigured it all to believe that i wasn’t part of the group b/c the group was a dead-end of groupthink and i was unique. whatever. a load of shit, but it helped me get by, y’know? and as i grew up i realized that along with the personal accountability part and the urging on to remain an individual despite societal pressure to conform (both of which i still appreciate), was a good degree of selfishness and unreality. but whatever… i approach this too-long book as containing a highly flawed system of belief, but one that works for a specific time in many people’s lives. shit, they should start pushing this as a young adult’s book. that’s really what it is. and though ayn rand might not like it, there’s really nothing wrong with that.

Lit Bug

A wonderful book. Having read a lot of negative reviews, I was apprehensive about what this book might be like. But it has a very simple message to give - Set yourself free.At the beginning, I found Roark and Dominique incomprehensible, somewhat unrealistic and improbable as characters. Someone we do not usually meet even once in the course of our entire lives. Towards the end of the novel, I realised, THAT IS THE POINT.To be free, one must pay the steep price our culture, our world demands of us. And many are yearning to be free, but either do not realize it, or or not willing to pay the price.Howard's final speech sums it all up. People could not stand him because he reminded them of their inability to free themselves. Because he mocked them with his very presence. Because only his degradation into extreme poverty and obscurity could free the rest from the unacknowledged guilt within they were unprepared to face. People cannot stand an independent mind.An unfettered mind is a dangerous entity. It not only treads unconcerned on its chosen path, it threatens to upset the facade of respectability and civilization that the world has conjured up so painstakingly, at the cost of their own SELF.Catherine/Katie still feels a bit unreal, and Guy Francon's sudden agreement with his daughter towards the end is left unexplained.Howard and Dominique make greater sense towards the end, and do not seem incomprehensible in retrospect. Keatings, alas, pop up everywhere around us, Tooheys thrive everywhere we can see. Wynand, surprisingly, was very well-drawn as a character. The beautiful writing skills of Rand lent him an air of reality, and did not make it seem an inexplicable jolt in the storyline simply because the writer was stuck somewhere and needed to make a change.Roark and Dominique can be governed, but not ruled. And that is how all humans should be. It is perhaps too much to ask of anyone to aspire to become complete Roarks or Dominiques, the price is unbelievably steep, but one can at least try.Roark's final speech should be taught in all schools and, and this novel must be a part of the syllabus for every kid who goes to college.Louis Althusser states the same things in his unparalleled essay, "Ideology and Ideological State Apparatus", only that there is no story in it, and the language is technical, rather than emotional. But for those interested in Rand, the essay is just as important, as a life-changer for some.A word of caution though. It is a very alluring principle - Objectivism. But Roark exemplifies the maximum limit of it, the unreachable goal. One must aspire to be free, but it is to be realised that one cannot be absolutely free. To survive, one has to compromise. Like in every other thing we firmly believe in. A blind conformation to Objectivism can be just as dangerous as blind conformation to tradition.

Max Ostrovsky

I did not like The Fountainhead as much as Atlas Shrugged. Atlas Shrugged was more of a page turner. There were very specific character goals that drove that story. The Fountainhead had a gradual buildup to a very climactic courtroom scene. The Fountainhead took the reader on a very linear journey, but never going beyond the basic story of a man who wants to succeed. Of course there are more nuances than that, but that is the basic essence. Atlas Shrugged takes a more epic approach and raises more issues and more awareness of the world around you. As Ayn Rand has said, The Fountainhead was the story of man, while Atlas Shrugged was a story of society. And, of course, society is going to have more things going on in it. Both stories revolve around a central character, the perfect man. In The Fountainhead, this man is Howard Roark, Architect. While being "perfect" in the Ayn Rand sense, he seems more human than the counterpart in Atlas Shrugged, John Galt, Destroyer, who is more of a god in that story. Even the speeches made at the end by both men are as different. Roark's speech is approachable, readable, understandable and relates directly to the reader. The reader is instantly drawn in. John Galt's Speech, however, is a massive didactic and at times condescending speech that as a reader is a major undertaking in a book as involved as Atlas Shrugged. But the audiences were different for the men. Roark spoke to men who he chose to listen to him. Men who were logical thinkers; cold and objective. Galt spoke to the radio masses; basically sheep. He had to find 42 different ways of saying the same thing, just so the people could understand him. Beyond the speeches these men are different in their presentation in the book. Roark begins and ends the story. Galt is a mystery for the majority of Atlas Shrugged. He is mythic and godlike. Referenced, but never known and understood with the constant elusive and almost meaningless quote "Who is John Galt?" That book really focuses on Dagny Taggert, a rare very strong female character. Atlas Shrugged is really her story, her failing quest to save a world that doesn't understand its own danger from a destroyer. Both she and Galt are a matched pair, similar in philosophies, drive and dedication, but different in their approach. Dagny was relentless in trying to hold the world together, even though the world tried to stop and undermine her at every turn. Galt did not actively seek out destruction. He merely illustrated that without the exploitation of people like Dagny, it will not and can not survive. He simply withdrew himself from being exploited. One thing that Ayn Rand really impresses me with is that while she gets a kick out of creating and describing and telling the story of the perfect man, she incorporates some of the strongest women I have ever read in literature. As Dagny is in Atlas Shrugged, Dominique was in The Fountainhead. While not as strong or dominate as Dagny, Dominique finds her own niche in the story as the perfect female and satirizes what society usually paints as the "perfect female." Besides being physically attractive she is smart beyond normal comprehension. When trapping herself in a meaningless marriage and playing the part of the "perfect wife," she performed her womanly duties; everything when the husband wanted. Did he love this "perfect wife?" He was miserable because who would want to date a robot who did everything he wanted. She exhibited no personality or thought of her own and was perfectly compliant with everything everyone wanted from her....specifically to show how miserable they can be by simply using her. Fountainhead is a brilliant novel. Ayn Rand has found a way to share her philosophies in a way that is entertaining and enlightening and only a rare trace of didacticism. The Fountainhead shows a very true if not menacing picture of how evil altruism can be.

BirdBrian

SCENE OPENS IN A PSYCHIATRIST'S OFFICE. TWO MEN FACE EACH OTHER IN COMFORTABLE-LOOKING ARMCHAIRS.Dr Williams (DrW): Howard, I want you to understand that even though you were acquitted for destroying the Courtlandt housing project, the court has ordered you to these sessions because they are concerned you may be a danger to the public. Some of your colleagues think you may be insane.Howard Roark (HR): Insane? Pffft- they wish! They just can't handle my genius. If they possessed my knowledge of architecture, their faces would melt off like droopy-armed children.DrW: But why did you blow up those apartment buildings?HR: I only agreed to design those apartments if Keating promised to build them exactly the way I specified. He changed my design, so (flourish with his hand) ....boom.DrW: Generally, when somebody is in breach of a contract, one seeks resolution in court, not with high-grade explosives.HR: Look, I gave him a brilliant design. What did he do? He let Toohey mess with it, making compromises here and there, cheapening it with bad taste, until it was a grotesque eyesore. I couldn't be associated with such a thing ...So I blew it up.DrW: Ah, I see... You did it to protect your professional reputation.HR: No, no, no... I don't care what others think. (dismissive flip of the hand) I only care about being true to myself. All the other architects in this town hate me, and I say let 'em! I know I'm great, and that's all that matters. I'm on a drug; it's called "Howard Roark"!DrW: But if it's good enough to know you're great, why do you care that Toohey ruined your work? You know your original design was wonderful. If others made a mess of it, isn't that their problem?(silence, as Howard mulls this)DrW: Look, Howard, I'm not taking sides here. You feel strongly about your art, and I respect that. It's like Michelangelo. He suffered for his art too, but you didn't see him blowing up the Sistine Chapel when things didn't go his way. HR: Well, maybe he should have! If you can't make art that is superlative, it's better not to make any at all. Don't you see? All I want to do is create buildings which inspire people with their form and function. What's wrong with that?DrW: Nothing. I admire that, Howard, but you‘ve made it really difficult for yourself. How many people will want to hire you, given your imprudent history with munitions? HR: Professor Wright seems to like my work.(door opens, and a distinguished-looking academic type pokes his head in)Professor Wright (FLW): Did I just hear my name mentioned? (to Dr W): Is he fixed yet? Can I take him back to the Academy?DrW: (pleading) Frank, give the boy some time! He's got a lot of issues he's working through. You can't just push him.FLW: (angry) FINE! Have it your way! (pointing an accusing finger at DrW): But there's only six other people in the world who can even begin to comprehend how mind-blowingly brilliant his Stoddard Temple was. Do you hear me?!?? SIX PEOPLE!!!!(slams door loudly)DrW: I'm sorry you had to see that. We have a tense and complicated relationship. We used to be college roommates, and then he got, like, the Nobel Prize or something.HR: Um, okay.DrW: Howard, this is kind of unconventional, but I think I know what part of the problem is. With your permission, I'd like to invite your girlfriend into our discussion...(goes to the door, and calls Dominique Francon [DF] from the waiting area)(Dominique enters)DF: (seductively, to Howard) Hey, Lover... Doctor Man here isn't messin' with your head, is he?DrW: Well, Ms. Francon, we were just exploring the question of why an accomplished architect would suddenly demolish a structure he'd been working on for six months.DF: Why!? ...Because they don't deserve to live in one of his magnificent apartments, that's why!DrW: "They" who?DF: You know, the "little people"... (with disgust) the insignificant and inconsequential little nobodies who make up the bulk of society! They don't deserve to shine Howie's shoes here, let alone live in his beautiful building.HR: They couldn't take it. "Winning."DrW: Howard here just told me the building sucked. Maybe it would have been perfect for "little nobodies", as you call them. DF: Well...I...um...DrW: And how do you know what sort of people would have lived there? Maybe great people you look up to would have moved in.DF: NO! Not after Toohey ruined it! It became an abomination- it was a monument to mediocrity, an appeal to the lowest common denominator...the hive mentality, with their collectivist ideals. That's not Howard. (walking behind Howard, she begins to run her fingers sensually through Howard's hair. Howard looks somewhat uncomfortable) My Howie is a GREAT man! (playfully, to Howard): Aren't ya?(serious, to DrW):That's why people are paying top dollar for his work now. Do you know how much they're paying him to do the Wynand Building?(smiling to herself, she messes up his hair and then says, more to herself than anybody else):My little frickin' rock star from Mars!DrW: Er- yeah. Well, so you find it very significant that Wynand is paying Howard well for his newest building?DF: Hell, yeah! The free market doesn't lie! Money talks, bullshit walks!DrW: Then why dynamite the Courtlandt buildings? Wouldn't it have been more of a vindication to allow them to be constructed, and then watch them go bankrupt? That seems more consistent with your philosophy. Blowing things up just seems desperate.DF: Hey! You're twisting my words! You're just trying to split Howie and me up! It's not gonna work! We're the Bonnie and Clyde of architecture! (turns to Howard)Come on, Howie! Let's get outta here.HR: (slowly shaking his head "no") Bonnie and Clyde? That's not a very good comparison. I don't want to be a gangster; I just want to build buildings.DF: Screw you, Howard! I'm leaving!(slams door)DrW: Sorry, I didn't think she'd break up with you.HR: It's okay. I actually think she's been cheating on me with John Galt.DrW: Who is John Galt?HR: Some guy... it doesn't matter. (looking dejected)I guess I acted kind of irrationally. It's just, (voice cracking) this is a very competitive field...(sniff)There's a lot of pressure, you know?(sniff)DrW: (softly) Hey, Howard, it's okay... it's not your fault.HR: I know. (sniff)(pause)DrW: No, Howard.It's not your fault.HR: (pause) Yeah, I get it. (sniff) I know. (wipes eye)DrW: (solemn) It's not your fault.HR: (tearing up) Don't mess with me, Man! Not you!DrW: (more gentle) It's not your fault.HR: (starts crying)DrW: (embraces Howard)(long, cathartic sobbing gradually comes under control)HR: How embarrassing. (sniff) I must seem pretty crazy. (sniff)DrW: No, Howard, you aren't crazy.HR: (wipes away a tear) So I'm not bipolar?DrW: (smiles and puts his hand on Howard's shoulder) Howard, you're bi-WINNING.

Jason Pettus

Would you like to hear the only joke I've ever written? Q: "How many Objectivists does it take to screw in a lightbulb?" A: (Pause, then disdainfully) "Uh...one!" And thus it is that so many of us have such a complicated relationship with the work of Ayn Rand; unabashed admirers at the age of 19, unabashedly horrified by 25, after hanging out with some actual Objectivists and witnessing what a--holes they actually are, and also realizing that Rand and her cronies were one of the guiltiest parties when it came to the 1950s "Red Scare" here in America. Here in Rand's first massive manifesto-slash-novel, we meet the theoretically ultimate Objectivist -- architect Howard Roarke, who is so just completely sure of what he should be doing with his constructions, he won't even participate in his industry at all unless his client gives him complete and utter control over the final project; which is why Howard Roarke barely ever completes any projects over the course of his life, which according to Rand is because of the vast unwashed masses of the insipid keeping the obvious genius down. Righteous, Ayn, righteous! Ultimately it's easy to see in novels like this one why Rand is so perfect for late teenagers, but why she elicits eye rolls by one's mid-twenties; because Objectivism is all about BEING RIGHT, and DROPPING OUT IF OTHERS CAN'T UNDERSTAND THAT, and LET 'EM ALL GO TO HELL AS FAR AS I'M CONCERNED, without ever taking into account the unending amount of compromise and cooperation and sometimes sheer altruism that actually makes the world work. Recommended, but with a caveat; that you read it before you're old enough to know better.

Rishabh

This work serves as a fantastic introduction to Rand's inane philosophy - Objectivism (more about this in bit). Extremely gripping and never trite, The Fountainhead is a heady mixture of Rand's simplistic psychological and philosophical insights. The characters are, without exception, fascinating: Howard Roark - the unconventional architect who lives for and in his work, Dominique Francon - the yet more unconventional and passionate lover, Peter Keating - the seeker after all that is conventional, and hence (in Rand's mind) worthless, and (my favorite) Ellsworth Toohey - the Evil, brilliant, and power-hungry schemer. These (and other) well-etched characters, paradigms of what they stand for, become Rand's vehicles for expressing her take on the nature of the ideal man, the purpose and summum bonum of life, and other such important things that Rand seems singularly unqualified to expound on. Her story-telling skills and style of writing are undoubtedly distinguished; however, philosophy is not Ms.Rand's forte. In any case, this book was an interesting, thought-provoking read, even if one perusal of it was adequate for me to become all-round mocker of Objectivism.Now to the philosophy behind this work. Ms.Rand seems to deify rationality without offering a reasonable explanation. Why are individuality and rationality the greatest and most glorious things? Ms.Rand says so; perhaps it "feels right" to her. Why, and based on what proof or rigor, does no god exist (Objectivism is an atheistic philosophy)? Ms.Rand says so; perhaps she conducted all kinds of scientific experiments and came up with the definitive answer to this quintessential philosophical problem. Just like in the case of her denunciation of homosexuality: "Because it involves psychological flaws, corruptions, errors, or unfortunate premises, but there is a psychological immorality at the root of homosexuality. Therefore I regard it as immoral... Morally it is immoral, and more than that, if you want my really sincere opinion, it is disgusting." Such sophistication of reasoning and opinion would do George Bush proud. To cut this potentially loong tirade short, I have no respect for Ayn Rand's pseudo-rational philosophy. While I like a few ideas here and there - her support of Capitalism and the individual's rights -, on the whole, I think it's a wannabe rational but actually shallow philosophy that, from the viewpoint of rational content, might as well be consigned to flames.

Chris

I hated Anthem so much that I vowed never to read another book by Ann Rand, but I still talk about how much I hate all of her other books, too. That's how much I disliked Anthem. I also think I have the right to hate The Fountainhead without having read it because:a) Ayn Rand is a horrible writer. Everything I've seen by her is badly written and I don't like badly written books.b) Ayn Rand thought she was a philosopher and injects her silly "objectionist" point of view into all her books. She wasn't a philosopher, however, no matter what her silly followers think. Cult leader, perhaps.c) Ayn Rand's "objectionism" is simply selfishness dolled up a bit, so I will hate the "lesson" in her books.d) I hate books with clear lessons. Ayn Rand has clear lessons.e) Ayn Rand has such a knee-jerk, reactionary dislike of anything striking of collectivism that she makes Orwell look like a communist. Knee-jerk reactionaries seldom write good books.

Manzoid

This book is a big epiphany-getter in American high school and college students. It presents a theme of pure, fierce dedication to honing yourself into a hard blade of competence and accomplishment, brooking no compromise, ignoring and dismissing the weak, untalented rabble and naysayers as you charge forth to seize your destiny. You are an "Army of One". There is undeniable sophomoric allure to this pitch. It kind of reminds me of all those teenagers into ninja stuff and wu shu and other Oriental mystical crap (supported by a cottage industry of silly how-to magazines and catalogs for throwing stars and whatnot). "I will forge myself upon the white-hot anvil of hard experience into a mighty warrior..." or some such. I read "The Fountainhead" in college, and so did a bunch of classmates. I found that the people who were *really* taken with it tended to be borderline-pompous cretins who had some moderate talent in something -- art or music, say -- and thought that Ayn Rand had just given them permission to uncork their amazing true spirits, that only an over-adherence to social convention was holding them back from greatness. Uh, no... that's not what's holding you back from greatness...It reminds me of how so many students "really relate" to Holden Caulfield, when the real Holden would think they were total phonies.To be fair, Rand's ideas about the supremacy of self-reliance, the false comfort of altruism, the exaltation of a gritty and decidedly male competence, the sublimeness of pure laissez-faire capitalism... they are interesting to consider. Not making excuses, getting off your ass and working to become really good at something that's in line with your true nature, staying true to your personal ideals of what Quality is, not compromising those ideals for expediency, fear, or social pressure -- these are workable ideas in themselves. However, they are put on a ridiculously high and isolated pedestal in Rand's work.If children did not exist in this world and life was entirely about your career, maybe I could agree a little more. But only a little. Her worldview is just too cold and transactional and rigid and productivity-oriented. She's a libertarian wet dream, I guess, and I feel the same way about them both -- some thought-provoking ideas there, but I don't see it working at all as a broad basis for any kind of world I'd want to live in.Oh yeah, and to circle back for a bit to the actual novel -- the prose is wooden, and characters are flat, and it is twice as long as necessary. Maybe three times as long. It's basically a giant propaganda tract. But it has a surprisingly strong grip on a certain stratum of the American consciousness, so I think it's still an interesting read in that respect. In order to invest the time in it though, I think you have to be the literary equivalent of the film buff who eagerly takes in B-movies as well in order to savor their peculiar inverse contributions to the art form.

Dan

Ever read a book that changed your life as a kid, I mean totally reconfigured your perceptions of life and how it should be lived? Yeah, me too. This was one of those books for me. It blew me away as a kid. My hero was Roark and his rugged individualism and integrity. Upon rereading this 50th anniversary hardback edition as an adult, I was appalled at this amoral tale. Roark is a sociopathic monster whose integrity is blind and callous. The Objectivism that Rand uses to undergird this story seems to find ethics of communities, or how we should act towards each other, repugnant. Every character is a simple caricature of one facet of a human, there is no moral ambiguity or ambivalence in anybody. Everybody here is an absolute, and because of that, an absolute failure. She attempts to soften these granite facades with a love story, but Rand turns out to be inept at that too. Sure Roark has impeccable aesthetic taste, but if it isn't in service to bettering your life or your fellow man's (preferably both), then it's just an exercise in solipsistic torture. And the whole manifesto masquerading as a serious novel gave me eyeball sprain from all of the rolling it did. This book is probably dangerous for naive minds and too naive for adult minds.

David

This was the novel of ideas that shot Ayn Rand to literary prominence. Unlike the later ATLAS SHRUGGED which explores Rand's philosophy of individualism in the politico-economic realm, this book explores it in the aesthetic realm. This alone leads to some interesting and amusing anomalies, that Rand highlights herself. As when one left-wing group wants to support Roark as a symbol of the put-upon proletarian, while some successful businessman despise him. Of course in this book, Rand is not putting the case for capitalism, but rather for the ethics of freedom that underlies both the economics of the free market and the aesthetics of an independent mind.Unfortunately, what goes around comes around. When one hears Britain's Prince Charles taking advantage of his status of birth to share his personal views on architecture with a wider public who would otherwise ignore his antiquarian tastes, one realizes that the spirit of Elsworth Toohey is still alive.

mark monday

I once broke up with someone because she was an ardent follower of Ayn Rand. it just started bothering me more and more, and I started seeing the taint of Objectivism in so many of her comments. mind you, this was in college when i was much more obnoxiously political. after we broke up, she turned around and started dating my roommate... sweet revenge, and a fitting response from an Objectivist.

Tambay

I'm not a full-fledged disciple of Ayn Rand's philosophical system, likely due to the fact that I do not yet fully comprehend her theory of objectivism, which encompasses positions on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, politics, and aesthetics.I've read 3 of her novels, The Fountainhead, Atlas Shrugged, and Anthem, and I've watched her speak on archived videotaped footage from decades in the past - in some instances, recorded before I was even born. To say that I found (and still do find) her fascinating, would be an understatement. Any human being with the courage and audacity to create a self-adhered, matured, well-qualified philosophical system, one that would go on to influence others and amass followers, even 25 years after her death, deserves observation and analysis.In reading The Fountainhead a second time, I realized that it's not so much the novel that I like - it's unnecessarily voluminous, wrought with numerous characters who are frequently verbose (mostly didactic monologues), and I think it could benefit from another round of editing... all blasphemous comments to Rand's followers and the numerous intellectuals who revel in objectivist orgasmic moments, I'm sure. What I do love about the novel are the core ideas underneath, and most especially, the concept of the hero, Howard Roark.Never have I felt more connected to a fictional character than to the aspiring architect with a unique, uncompromising creative vision, which contrasts sharply with the staid and uninspired conventions of the architectural establishment. An egoist... not egotist. There is a difference. To Rand, Roark is man "as man should be," who lives for himself and his own creativity, indifferent to the opinions of others - certainly what could be called a romantic view of man.I am inspired by Roark, and seek to fully understand him, and in effect, understand Rand and her philosophical system.

Mike (the Paladin)

***** SECOND REVIEW ********As promised I took a second look at this book, I will leave the original review below this one.I still find the rape scene in this book repulsive, even though AR wrote once that "if it was rape it was rape by engraved invitation." I point out that Dominique herself CALLED it rape. She goes on about her own self loathing and wanted to shout out that she had been raped. Dominique is painted as a character so world weary and despising of society that she could only (finally) be aroused by a man who could "take her". Both Dominique and Roark are described as having condescension and violence as "positive" traits. Okay, so I waded through this huge pretentious, self congratulatory, patronizing tomb. Having read more than this by AR I've got to say that while she hits the nail squarely on the head in some ways she takes the hard lessons life taught her and gets many wrong answers (not all wrong, but many wrong, at least in my opinion). To her compassion is the same as weakness. The word "compassion" has nothing but negative connotations. She cannot (and I truly believe it's "cannot" as well as "will not") see the difference in willingly giving help as opposed to being compelled by law to give up your living to those who "won't" work. The fact that there are many (and I admit possibly even most) who when given help will simply do nothing but keep asking for a hand-out extrapolates out for her that ever giving help is simply enabling loafers. She saw all unselfishness as weakness and all who acted unselfishly as hypocrites.One can only wonder how she would have looked at Mother Teressa...probably as a weak dupe...or the world's greatest con-person who never got caught?Personally I like Atlas Shrugged better as far as an actual novel goes. Dominique is such an odd personality that while I know AR was basing the character on herself, she was just too odd. I mean am I the only one who finds a woman who can't get aroused unless she's physically assaulted as a protagonist a little troubling? Oh well, beating a dead horse I suppose.The book has good points and AR is a good writer of prose, at times, but not consistently, at least that's my take. I will raise the rating to 3 stars, mainly because the 1 star rating was a visceral reaction to a scene where the male protagonist rapes the female protagonist. ************** Original review below this line ******************* How do I rate this book??? I believe that while Ms.Rand has some huge holes in her reasoning she also had some insights. I think this is a book everyone should take a look at (especially now). I would hope we can differentiate between the valuable and the dross. Read this book (and her other works) with an open and also a critical mind. She has some important insights into human nature and the way humans think and the way the world actually works. She simply carries some of it to a place where it doesn't apply. For example, those who produce will come to a point where they will stop alloying themselves to be stripped of the rewards of their work and thought, it's human nature. On the other hand her view of those who need help and the spiritual side of life are somewhat wanting. she seems to be heavily influenced by Nietzsche.I prefer Atlas shrugged to this novel. You can see Ms. Rand in the heroines of both books. In Atlas Shrugged she (Dagny Taggart) "trades up" in her romantic relationships each time she meets a "stronger" man who better exemplifies Ayn Rand's ideal (representing her philosophy "objectivism"). In this book, the heroine (Dominique Francon) is or "appears to be" raped by the "strong hero" Howard Roark. I say "appears to be" because even though to many readers and reviewers of the book at it's publication and since it is an obvious rape (and that includes me) Ms. Rand wrote that "if it was rape, it was rape by engraved invitation." I found this so distasteful that I completely lost my taste for this book and put it down.

Foodpie

This book is easily described as garbage. Poorly imagined, poorly conceived and poorly written it is only exceptional in the lengths it will go to justify the morally, ethically and socially reprehensible behavior of the central character who's vaunted genius amounts in the end to nothing more than being a willful disobedient ass. He is neither original or exceptional, he is simply an ass, and is treated as an object of admiration for it. A thoroughly disgusting piece of writing.

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