The Fountainhead, Paperback
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


This is Ayn Rand's story of Howard Roark, a brilliant architect who dares to stand alone against the hostility of second-hand souls.

First published in 1943, this best-selling novel is a passionate defense of individualism and presents an exalted view of man's creative potential; it is a book about ambition, power, gold and love.




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This book comes with a reputation, Ayn Rand is said to have influenced many of the people of power on both sides of the Atlantic with her policy of 'Objectivism', and the glorification of self-interest. I found that any preconceptions I might have had along the lines of what such words mean to me were quickly dashed. It occurred to me that the philosophy she expounds in complex detail will have different meanings for people of different backgrounds and experience, and this feeling became stronger as I made my way through the book. The book demonstrates that words such as 'egotism', 'self-interest', 'altruism' are capable of many interpretations once they are applied to the way people interact. The book tells an architectural tale in which genius is obliged to co-exist with mediocrity, and how the two may conflict; indeed the book takes the view that conflict is inevitable. However, 'genius' is seen here as an absolute, as is an individual's capacity for understanding. Such concepts underpin the work, but above such things 'The Fountainhead' tells a powerful story which contains much of the unexpected and excites strong personal feelings about the principal characters. Despite its length I found it difficult to put down, and I feel enriched by it.

Review by

"The Fountainhead" is an epic novel about the struggle of a single, American architect against the forces of the unappreciative and, as Rand paints it, evil. Although it is technically a work of fiction, "The Fountainhead" has become acclaimed as one of Rand's treatises on the philosophy objectivism, and the final fifth of the book reads as such.Because the book's climax is philosophical, rather than plot or character driven, "The Fountainhead's" characters are all stand-ins for various social archetypes. Though they are exceptional archetypes, they do flatten the plot substantially (if this is to be judged as a work of fiction). As such, "The Fountainhead" is best read as a fairy tale to Rand's philosophical views.

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