Book review of “The Fountainhead” by Ayn Rand

Review by : Manu Pratap singh

Edited by : Vipul murarka

There are some titles which you pick and then there are some which are suggested by fellow readers, but in the midst of this process there are some titles which pick you and not the other way round – The Fountainhead picked me.

Well, this is a voluminous work with a controversial past regarding the philosophy discussed – Individuality. To be honest, I couldn’t connect much to it in the beginning, but somehow I intuitively felt an urge to read it and I am contented that I read it.

This work of Ayn Rand has been written way back in 1943. It wasn’t welcomed by people at its inception and was clouded by controversies and criticism. As the saying goes, “One must put money where his/her mouth is”, and she did the same by staying confident in her writing skills as well as the philosophy preached which in turn immune her work from passage of time.

This book consists of four chapters, each dedicated to a pivoting character. Pace is variable and subjective i.e. may vary from reader to reader.  Architectural terms and details are well researched and used sensibly. Writing style is brilliant and reading between the lines might be like an a la carte, but it will ask for patience as well as attention because it’s a different set of philosophy. Though it contains a good amount of ink yet it’s relevant and leaves very minute chance of skimming through it. All the characters are sketched in such a way that they have their respective edge and air.

The book talks about Individualism utilizing architectural profession remarkably to knit a story so appealing that it will leave you in awe. Basically individualism is contrary to collectivism, for instance the former advocates the fact that every individual is unique like their finger prints while the latter is shown to be preaching the fact that united we stand divided we fall (in context of belief and opinion) which might be like asking every individual to wear gloves so that their uniqueness is now a collective identity.

Howard Roark is the protagonist -who is an architect and a breathing embodiment of individualism, as he firmly believes that every structure raised on Earth must complement the people residing in it and hence be unique in their own sanctity. On the other hand the print media is shown to mould, modify and adulterate the belief system of society as per the requirement of collectivism.  There are some lines or even the expressions that will echo in one’s memory for a good amount of time. One of my favorite parts of this book is in this little dialogue plus it carries the essence of this book:-

Gail Wynand: “Have you always liked being Howard Roark?”

Roark smiled. The smile was amused, astonished and involuntarily contemptuous.

Gail: “You’ve answered.”

(Page – 521)

Anything more discussed about the content will be injustice to the book as well as reader.Though there were times when I wasn’t much in sync with the content but I persevered and I am glad that I didn’t put it down because of a small part. On an ending note I will say that it is a brilliant piece of literature and should be read at least once. This is not just a work of fiction or any philosophy but rather a different dimension worth being part of. And it also has a blended love story which is ideal and so pure, that you might start to envy the couple.

I loved the protagonist Howard Roark and related a lot with him, apart from him there are other characters like Dominique Francon who is compliments Howard Roark and couple more which I want readers to discover on their own. I loved the theme, the plot, the twists, the details. What I personally felt and faced that one has to grow in order to get it just right and even that is not the end, the wisdom is subjective in The Fountainhead -as you grow you will always learn new things without having central theme adulterated.I found sheer pleasure of living in the “substitute “world Ayn Rand has created, I hope you will also feel mutual after its completion.

Wise words by Ayn Rand:-“Certain writers, of whom I am one, do not live, think or write on the range of the moment. Novels, in the proper sense of the word, are not written to vanish in a month or a year. That most of them do, today, that they are written and published as if they were magazines, to fade as rapidly, is one of the sorriest aspects of today’s literature, and one of the clearest indictments of its dominant esthetic philosophy: concrete-bound, journalistic Naturalism which has now reached its dead end in the inarticulate sounds of panic.”

Rating- 9.5/10

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