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BOOK REVIEW: ‘The Fountainhead’

Author: Ayn Rand
Publisher: Plume
Publication date: April 26, 2005
Genre: Literature and fiction

The ‘common good’ of a collective — a race, a class, a state — was the claim and justification of every tyranny ever established over men. Every major horror of history was committed in the name of an altruistic motive.”

Ayn Rand was a philosopher, novelist, playwright and screenwriter. In the course of her career, she developed a philosophy called “objectivism,” which she imparted via her written works.

“The Fountainhead” is one of Rand’s most well-known pieces of writing, centering primarily on the life and ideals of Howard Roark, a New York architect that was clearly not cast from the same mold as the others.

Rand’s use of imagery in this novel is unmatched by any I have read to-date. Take her description of Roark, for example: “His face was like a law of nature—a thing one could not question, alter, or implore. It had high cheekbones over gaunt, hollow cheeks; gray eyes, cold and steady; a contemptuous mouth, shut tight, the mouth of an executioner or a saint.”

It took me it a little bit longer to get through this book than I expected.  While I enjoyed the story and how it was written, sometimes, it felt like the narrative and the descriptions were a little too drawn out.

In spite of that, my only true negative observation of “The Fountainhead” is Rand’s rough perspective transitions. While she did an excellent job of changing character perspectives by chapter, she would change perspectives mid-chapter as well, without any kind of transition.

In one paragraph you would be privy to Roark’s thoughts and, in the next, you would be reading Dominique’s.  At times, it could get confusing as well as frustrating.

Reviewed by Stefanie Paquin on 16 June 2014

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