Monday, January 04, 2016

Book Review : The Fountainhead

Book Title : The Fountainhead
Author : Ayn Rand
Genre : Psychological Novel
ISBN : 9781101990896
Publisher : Penguin Publishing Group
Publication : 
Pages : 720

Binding : Paperback

Plot :
The Fountainhead'​s protagonist, Howard Roark, is an individualistic young architect who chooses to struggle in obscurity rather than compromise his artistic and personal vision. The book follows his battle to practice what the public sees as modern architecture, which he believes to be superior, despite an establishment centered on tradition-worship. How others in the novel relate to Roark demonstrates Rand's various archetypes of human character, all of which are variants between Roark, the author's ideal man of independence and integrity, and what she described as the "second-handers". The complex relationships between Roark and the various kinds of individuals who assist or hinder his progress, or both, allow the novel to be at once a romantic drama and a philosophical work. Roark is Rand's embodiment of what she believes to be the ideal man, and his struggle reflects Rand's personal belief that individualism trumps collectivism.

My Rating : 5☆

Review :
First time I had read this book was in college, during my architecture years; when I was told that every architect should have read this book - at that time,  it was about fitting in and being able to say - yes I have read the book.
But for quiet sometime now, I had been wanting to reread it and boy what a beautiful read it was - not just architecturally but psychologically as well.
It's how Peter or Toohey manipulate to meet their ends and how they aren't even guilty for they can justify all of their actions with impeccable logic. The thought process behind their actions is something worth reading about - for it makes for such an interesting read.
It's how Roark sees his work, worships it. It's how he ignores everything except the function of the building to design it. It's about the principles he upholds with regards to his work. It's how he brings justice to himself and his innocence. Its just about his overall personality.
It's how Dominique and  Wynand compliment each other so beautifully - how they are replicas of each other but then they are not. It's how they appreciate what they love and what their criticism really means.
Each of these characters had such a strong personality and Ayn Rand did such a great job at character development that you really cannot pick and choose one over the other - of course not idealistically for according to her, Roark is the embodiment of ideal man and thus superior to others. And then there is how she has described the buildings - which is a sheer joy to read.
And as beautiful her writing and her character development is, as beautiful is the plot development - how she interlaced the lives of such diverse characters and made understanding their complex relationships to each other so easy, is worth mentioning here. Also the way she brings about a closure to the novel is also complete and you don't feel like you are missing out on something important, something crucial.
But there is just one thing and only one thing that makes me sad... I'm sad that when I reread it, it was an ebook and not a physical book for I couldn't put those markers or highlight the portions I would have loved visiting again - yes I know, bookmarks in any e-reader work just the same way, but it never truly is the same thing, at least not for me :/
Anyways, jokes apart, the book is a perfect balance of drama, romance, and psychology. Yes it's a must read for all architecture students and professionals alike, just because of Roark but at the same time, the book is a must read for anyone trying and wanting to understand human nature and psychology. And if you do pick it up, you won't be left disappointed - that's a promise. 
Happy Reading! 

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