I knew I shouldn’t have read this but I can’t seem to resist dystopian stories at the moment, no matter who’s written them. When I read the back cover I thought it would be a good idea to give it a try. I’m not at all a fan of Ayn Rand’s philosophy, but The Fountainhead is a work that fascinates me all the same. I read it for the second time last year with my book club. I’m astonished how someone can be so dedicated to an odd radical philosophy and spend most of their life writing giant books to promote it. Rand’s philosophy of objectivism is nothing more than a vulgar rationalisation for individualism and egotistical behaviour. The Fountainhead is worth reading because of the array of despicable characters and all that they get up to in the name of individualism. The Fountainhead, Anthem, and all of her other books are nothing more than a grotesque plea for her philosophy. This novelette, Anthem, could have been interesting if it wasn’t so heavy on Rand’s philosophy. Thank God it wasn’t 750 pages, even though it was small I still felt as if I was being beaten senselessly about the head with her philosophy. I read Anthem in one sitting and found it to be laborious, boring, and the writing lack-luster, where I found The Fountainhead a lot easier to read and interesting in a strange way. Anthem was a great idea, however didn’t capture me at all, drowning in Rand’s individualist philosophy, and the story being much too simple. There went my dystopian reading experience, out the window.
“Equality 7-2521 is a man apart. Since the Great Rebirth it has been a crime in his world to think or act as an individual. Even love is forbidden. Yet since his childhood in the Home of the Infants, Equality 7-2521 has felt that he is different. When he is sent by The Council of Vocations to work as a road sweeper, he stumbles upon a link to the old world that gives him the spur to break free. First published in England in 1938, Ayn Rand’s short dystopian novel crystallizes the ideas of individualism and competition that would make her name world-famous.” ( back cover of Anthem, Penguin Modern Classics) About the only thing I agree with in that description is “Ayn Rand’s short dystopian novel crystallizes the ideas of individualism and competition.” I’m still trying to understand who would rate this 4 stars. I must give Rand one thing, her books really make people think about what they believe in. Read at your own risk, unless you’re curious like me.
Edition: Penguin Modern Classics (Beautiful cover and the only thing I like about this book)
My rating: *
Favorite quote: none