Friday, November 02, 2007

B.W.'s Book Report (Prelude): The Fountainhead

Well, at some time if you're going to travel in anarcho-libertarian- individualist-whatever circles, you have to dive into the big Ayn Rand books, something I've been putting off for no other reason than I could read two or three normal-length books in the time it takes to go through one of her thick treatises.

But I decided to dip my toe into The Fountainhead last night. I gave the old girl a half-hour to pique my interest, and she passed the test. About an hour into the exercise, she got me to commit to finishing (well, unless boredom sets in somewhere between page 50 and 694). I love this scene:
"God damn you!" roared Cameron suddenly, leaning forward. "I didn't ask you to come here! I don't need any draftsmen! There's nothing here to draft! I don't have enough work to keep myself and my men out of the Bowery Mission! I don't want any fool visionaries starving around here! I don't want the responsibility. I didn't ask for it. I never thought I'd see it again. I'm through with it. I was through with that many years ago. I'm perfectly happy with the drooling dolts I've got here, who never had anything and never will have and it makes no difference what becomes of them. That's all I want. Why did you have to come here? You're setting out to ruin yourself, you know that, don't you? And I'll help you do it. I don't want to see you. I don't like you. I don't like your face. You look like an insufferable egotist. You're impertinent. You're too sure of yourself. Twenty years ago I'd have punched your face with the greatest of pleasure. You're coming to work here tomorrow at nine o'clock sharp."
So far, so good.

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Anonymous John Newman said...

Thank you for sharing that bit of the book. It helped me make up my mind about reading it.

9:49 AM  
Anonymous sunni said...

That was the first Rand book I read, and perhaps in part for that reason, I think of it as her best fiction. (Before anyone blindly leaps to the wrong conclusion, That Infamous Sex Scene has absolutely nothing to do with that assessment.)

Looking forward to your thoughts upon completing it.

11:01 AM  
Blogger B.W. Richardson said...

Ooo, an infamous sex scene ... that'll keep me reading.

And why do I think my friend John decided not to read it? 8-D

11:55 PM  
Anonymous sunni said...

Surely you've heard of that sex scene already?!

On second thought, I guess I can see where you might not have ... since it appears you only recently discovered White and Nerdy. :-P

10:17 AM  
Blogger Wally Conger said...

I spent 12 years reading Rand's essays and nonfiction books before I began tackling her big pieces of fiction. I was intimidated by the lengths of FOUNTAINHEAD, ATLAS SHRUGGED, and WE THE LIVING. I did read her novella ANTHEM early on, though. When I finally read FOUNTAINHEAD in the mid-'80s, I adored it, and it remains my favorite of her novels.

5:17 PM  
Anonymous Tom Ender said...

Hey B.W.

If the book does turn boring for you, the movie captures quite a bit of the story with Rand doing the screenplay. Of course, seldom does a movie rise to the level of the book it came from.

I still rank Anthem as my favorite Rand fiction, but Fountainhead probably comes in #2, with Atlas #3 and We the Living #4. I suspect my ranking qualifies as atypical.

8:38 AM  

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