Title: The Fountainhead
Author: Ayn Rand
This modern classic is the story of intransigent young architect Howard Roark, whose integrity was as unyielding as granite…of Dominique Francon, the exquisitely beautiful woman who loved Roark passionately, but married his worst enemy…and of the fanatic denunciation unleashed by an enraged society against a great creator. As fresh today as it was then, Rand’s provocative novel presents one of the most challenging ideas in all of fiction—that man’s ego is the fountainhead of human progress…
(courtesy of Amazon)
I’m going to throw out a slightly unpopular opinion and say that I actually really liked this book. I won’t say loved, but I’m definitely more fond of it than what most people seem to be. Almost all of the reviews I’ve read of The Fountainhead have been negative in some way. I will concede that there are bad parts of the novel as well as good parts.
What most people seem to latch onto is *spoiler alert* the rape scene. No, I don’t condone rape. Yes, it is a horrible act that I despise with every fiber of my being. But for the sake of fiction and its ability to show us worlds and introduce us to aspects of life that broaden our world view, I understand its place in this novel.
Howard and Dominique’s relationship was violent from the very beginning. They say it’s a thin line between love and hate, and their relationship is proof of that. Dominique was terrified to let herself actually be happy, and that’s something that I believe a lot of people can relate to.
Howard refused to let anything or anyone sway his convictions, and that terrified the rest of the world. They were used to “yes-men” who did everything because they believed others would approve. Howard only did what he believed in. He created buildings with the same passion that artists paint canvases, authors write books, and vocalists sing songs. True passion and happiness scares people who don’t know what they truly want or who they are without their dependence on others, whether they realize it or not.
I won’t give any more spoilers from the novel, just know that if you undertake this story you must enter it with an open mind. Be willing to spend time understanding the long sentences and psychological and philosophical statements made. Be ready to despise characters and love them. If you let it, it does everything a great book should: shows you new world views and new experiences, evokes emotions, and enwraps you in a story that takes you to places you never would have thought you wanted to go.