Ayn Rand was a Russian-American writer and philosopher. The main source of her fame were her two critically acclaimed novels, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, and a philosophical system she developed, which came to be known as Objectivism. She was educated in Russia, and moved to the U.S. in 1926. She also had a play produced on Broadway in 1935 and 1936. Her first big break was her 1943 novel, The Fountainhead. In 1957, Rand published her best known work, Atlas Shrugged.


Throughout the centuries there were men who took first steps down new roads armed with nothing but their own vision. Their goals differed, but they all had this in common: that the step was first, the road new, the vision unborrowed, and the response they received — hatred. The great creators — the thinkers, the artists, the scientists, the inventors — stood alone against the men of their time. Every great new thought was opposed. Every great new invention was denounced. The first motor was considered foolish. The airplane was considered impossible. The power loom was considered vicious. Anesthesia was considered sinful. But the men of unborrowed vision went ahead. They fought, they suffered and they paid. But they won.

The Fountainhead is a masterpiece, with an integrating theme and plot; characterization; and writing craftsmanship knitted together in one tightly wrapped story that will live on forever in the hearts and minds of the American populace.

We meet an individual, Howard Roark, in a society that refuses to accept him, fighting for survival and his struggle; a successful young architect at the peak of his field, Peter Keating, and his pain; the most desired woman, Dominique Francon, in love with the forbidden, and her grief; a captain of journalism and news, Gail Wynand, defending his standing, and his fall. The story weaves an intricate mesh of ideals, ego, love, power, greed, betrayal and contentment.

Rand had an uncanny ability to weave words into a beautiful mosaic; her characters come alive on the pages and dance before the reader’s eyes. While the book raises questions on the existing ethics, it also alters them to some extent.

Mallory's conversation with Roark in The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand

Reading this book is no easy task. It is difficult to begin and requires strong willpower to continue. The length of the book does not make it any easier, either. It is more than 700 pages long, and with a few sections being a little “philosophically heavy”, it’s a real ordeal to read it.  Although the urge to quit never truly leaves, the prize for completion is equally sweet and rewarding.

The plot was pretty interesting and through it, Rand succeeded in preaching the philosophy of the self. The narrative is straight and the dialogues exchanged between the characters of the book is what drives the plot forward. The book enlightens us on the subject matters of Collectivism, Individualism, Altruism, and provokes the thought that the way human society works is all about a rat race gone haywire. Ayn Rand’s characterization is well thought and developed. In addition to being a great writer, she also was a brilliant philosopher and, just like many of her other works, her reasoning forms the basis of this novel as well.

I love you so much that nothing can matter to me – not even you…Only my love- not your answer. Not even your indifference.

The Fountainhead pitches personality traits by telling the story of a few people in New York. We see brilliance, ego, passion, faith, beliefs and ideologies pitched against success, insecurity and fame. The main theme is the struggle of the free mind, creativeness and individualism against the common opinion, the second-handers, or the people who think only about what other people think. The ideas are exciting, the writing is excellent enough to blur out everything bar the printed words. Unwaveringly individualistic, a strong belief system and non-conformist attitude, integrity, love for art and a constant belief in self over pleasing the masses – these are the subtle nuances that strike the right chord with the readers.

Ameya Rating:

In a nutshell, The Fountainhead is not a light read at all. It is like a mountain which is hard to climb, but the view makes it  worthwhile endeavor to make. This book is a great recommendation and is sure to question the existing notion of success, achievement and excellence of everyone who reads it.

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