“I stopped reading it when I realized its influencing me more than necessary. Will try it again when I am lost. Just read near to 100 pages. Its a big book and need lot of patience to complete it. ”Harish Lunani wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I've been told that this book is very good! The student in the book stands up for his beliefs to be unique with his art and his passion for art. Unorutnately in his standing up for his beliefs in art, he gets expelled and kicked out of the university that he attends. I would love to use this book in my classroom but I don't quite have an idea of how just yet. ”Jasmin R Ivy wrote this review Friday, November 8, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“When We the Living didn't get her point across to her audience, she wrote this stunning dark novel. Look for the 1950s movie by the same title.”tom neiman wrote this review Tuesday, November 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“One of the best works of fiction, is it fiction or is it philosophy with a Novel's binding?!!”sajitsam wrote this review Wednesday, October 30, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Worth reading but I came away with mixed feelings about objectivism--see some serious holes, but do respect some of the ideas about the "dumbing-down" power of crowds, what would ultimately become known as "political correctness" in our age. There's a simpler, earlier version of this story: The Emperor's New Clothes.”Dan Goldenberg wrote this review Saturday, October 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Excellent read- Howard Roark is an architect with personal standards. His buildings are beautiful and impractical. Architecture is his religion and his happiness. Very moving.”Julia Altenhofen wrote this review Tuesday, October 1, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I'm an admirer of Rand's ideas and writing and I've rated her other novels five stars. Although I certainly find this one worth reading--I like Rand's style and think her ideas are worth considering--I have too many problems with the protagonist of this novel, Howard Roark, to rank this novel highly.
First, the reasons I do think this novel worth a read. Rand's ideas are still provocative nearly 70 years after its publication. I can certainly understand how her paean to individualism could appeal, particularly to those trying to set a course in their lives. I actually like Rand's style--lyrical at times, compellingly readable and quotable.
Two quotes in particular stand out in my mind. One is the best put down I ever read in fiction. Roark's adversary in the book is Ellsworth Toohey, who has done everything to destroy Roark. After Toohey's done his worst, he asks, "Why don't you tell me what you think of me, Mr. Roark?" Roark answers, "But I don't think of you." Perfect. And not just as a "line" but thematically as well, given the novel is about how a person is the well-spring of their own success and failure and those who try to bring them down ultimately irrelevant.
The other quote that springs to mind is telling especially given those who accuse Rand of being Nietzschean. "A leash is only a rope with a noose on both ends." It's a thought of Gail Wynand, one of Rand's most poignant characters in the mold of a Pulitzer or Hearst--a newspaper publisher who sought power and influence by pandering to the public only to find who really has the power when it matters. He's a perfect foil to Roark.
So yes, parts of the book do speak to me, but then there's the problem with Roark. Two in particular, and here below be spoilers, so be warned.
The first problem is the infamous rape of Dominique by Roark. Rand said of the scene that if it is rape, it's "by engraved invitation" and a Rand devotee I brought this up to pointed out Dominique never says no. Nevertheless she does struggle, physically resist. If a word is not said, is it because a victim might feel she won't be heard? Dominique herself calls it rape.
On the other hand the depiction of the act itself implies a consent in her reactions--so maybe what we have here is just "rough sex." Although I still might find this whole encounter between Roark and Dominque disturbing, I might in those terms give Rand the benefit of the doubt. Although even if I do, Dominque is for me the most problematical and inexplicable of Rand's characters.
But then there's Roark's central act in the book--his blowing up of the public housing project. He defends himself in his trial and is said to choose jurors who'd be the kind who are unforgiving, and they acquit him. Problem is I can't acquit Roark, and can't believe the jury, particularly this jury, could have or should have. The deal he made with Keating was unenforceable and Roark knew that when he undertook to design the building. Those who built it certainly never knew the side deal Keating made. And for all that the book depicts Roark as taking care there would be no casualties--well blowing up a building because it didn't hew to his designs? I know Rand is of a romantic rather than naturalistic school but it is still the act of a terrorist, and the acquittal for me strains credibility even in a pre-9/11 world. Indeed, I'd argue the act violates several principles Rand espouses in her books--such as persuasion, rule of law and contract over force. Roark should have lost--and for me that undercuts Wynand's initial struggle to defend him of moral grandeur.
The character of Roark and the central act of destroying the building is the cornerstone of the novel itself--and it's not one I find sound. So yes, three stars to indicate the novel is worth reading, but in my estimation still deeply flawed.”
“Unlike Atlas Shrugged, the characters in this novel are almost human--almost. Fountainhead is Rand's portrait of great men (and women) brought low by the bourgeoisie--untalented frauds, charlatans and rent-seekers--but still able to pursue perfection as they (and Rand) understand it.”Alan Thompson wrote this review Monday, August 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Decided to re-read this one, tough to plod through at times but enjoy the underlying message of maintaining the steadfastness of one's ideals.”kim wrote this review Monday, August 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is the first book I ever read where I felt compelled to take notes in the margins (a task I found excruciating when I was supposed to do it in school). I'm pretty sad that I can't find my copy.”Sabbrielle wrote this review Wednesday, August 21, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No