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
6 Replies to “Anthem”
I found Ayn Rand’s writing quite heavy as well – Having reas Fountainhead, I’m now gearing up for another book: Atlas Shrugged. It is a beast of a novel and I can’t wait to see what she focuses on in this one!
One day I’ll read that one too, but not this year I don’t think. Unfortunately, it will probably contain a lot of the same crap as the other books she’s written. It was the only thing she ever wrote about. The writing style in The Fountainhead isn’t so bad, considering English wasn’t her first language. I just couldn’t stand Anthem. I real bore. Good luck with Atlas Shrugged – 1,168 pages. Please do come back and comment on what you thought about.
Yes, I have been trying to make myself read it for a month now… I’m still trying! Will let you know how I get along 🙂
Good luck with that one. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get to that one. 1000+ pages of that philosophy being beaten into my head. Ahhh! I can’t take it. Please…..
I always wanted to know who this Ayn Rand was. Thanks for explaining this.
Ayn Rand was something else, although I really can’t get on board with her objectivism=individualism=egocentrism philosophy. I read The Fountainhead twice and sort of enjoyed reading about these despicable characters, but Anthem was really bad. She wanted to write a dystopian novel but it turned into a brochure novelette for her philosophy. I’d say read The Fountainhead because it will give you a better idea about the woman and her philosophy because Atlas Shrugged is a 1000+ pages and I’m sure you don’t want to go there. I may one day out of my curiosity and my love for reading but not anytime soon. Thanks for stopping by!
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