I spent 30 chapters wondering what the damn book was about, but was unable to quit reading it because of the deliciously pretentious writing style of Rand. I had to know what gave her such motivation to scribble this soap opera out.
It's not a soap opera at all.
It's a masterful work and my mind was manipulated through the whole thing. By the last 3 chapters, all the debauchery seemed to make sense, and I even learned something about myself.
The narrator also is a master of his craft.
The whole thing was a long, embattled process, and I feel better for having listened to it. It's in my top 5 all time books.
The characters in this book are classic, especially Howard Roark who is certainly in my top 10 all-time if not #1. I want my teenage boys to read this but I'm not sure they can handle the length. I originally read it when I was about 20... it was my dad's favorite book. I really enjoyed it then and I did now as well (at 56), but it seemed longer. It didn't need to be this long. I worry it's a little dated for this generation.
I am in love with Ayn Rand, I read Atlas Shrugged and then listened to it. With The Fountainhead I did the opposite. The experience is different when reading or listening, but if you are a person who spends a lot of time in the car or doing mindless tasks listening is certainly the faster way to do it. Christopher Hurt is obviously familiar with the story as his narration does nothing but add to the enjoyment, and the understanding.
I couldn't choose just one character to be my favorite, but my top two would have to be:1. Roark - He is pure. The ideal. His character is similar in stature to Reardon or Dagny or even Galt himself. He is the physical manifestation of the ideals Rand believes in. 2. Dominique - She is the embodiment of the feeling you get when you see the world through Rand's eyes the first time. There is so much anger and sadness. Anger at the countless masses who are ok with the world as it is. Sadness that you can't have the world you know should be.
He brings the story to life. His voice and the effects he uses to show the nature of each character is simply spell-binding. You don't get that same effect when reading in your head.
At 30+ hours there is no way this is a one sitting read or listen.... But it was all I listened to on my drive to and from work for three weeks.
If you had a hard time swallowing Atlas Shrugged for length, plot, or it's unrealistic world, try this first. I guarantee you will go back to AS afterwards. The plot and characters are more realistic, and the characters who can "See" react differently to their knowledge as opposed to AS where you are either 100% good or 100% evil. Dominique and Wynand especially deal with the "Truth" in very interesting ways. Unfortunately Jim Taggart makes an appearance in the guise of Peter Keating... Brilliant book, brilliant listen.
Ayn Rand is unarguably one of the best writers in history. This book was entertaining, thought provoking, and educational. A must read for every philosophical mind.
The audio production is fairly decent. The reader is good, and provides the perfect intonation for these emotionless characters. Most important gripe about it is the breaks of Chapters. While the author technically does announce "Chapter 8," it's done almost like Mr. Subliminal, you're on to the change of topic without realizing it happened.
Howard Roark, by process of elimination. Wouldn't want any of the characters as acquaintances.
This was my first Ayn Rand experience. It was curiously fascinating all the while wondering why I cared to keep going. In the end, it was clear that the whole intent of the book was to espouse her philosophical stance, and disguise that in the form of a novel with cardboard cutouts for characters.
I appreciate the strong and compelling social and psychological argument Rand delivers while using exquisite imagery and description to make understood to the reader the true meaning of the characters' verbal and non verbal communication with one another. Her imagery and the deep meaning of her book delivered with her great conviction in this meaning and it's consequences for the reader and the world keep you wanting to listen to this marathon of a piece.
To agree with Rand is to prioritize one's life such that every second is spent striving for perfecting your ability to improve the world and then doing so. personal achievement through discovery of one's talents is the only source for lasting satisfaction.
I think I own the print version of Fountainhead that I purchased AFTER I listened to this audiobook. I don't know how that answers this question. But, I see this as a channel for discovery and I use the book to highlight quotes and other details to impart knowledge from this gem to my friends and family
The other book that compares in any way to this book is Atlas Shrugged from the same author. Ayn Rand defined an entire train of thought called objectivism and Atlas Shrugged is the magnum opus of Ayn Rand. So, Think of both of these books this way: Fountainhead defines objectivism at the individual level.(Howard Roark and Gale Wynard) while Atlas Shrugged defines objectivism at the society level.
One area Christopher Hurt fell short of is to create a distinction between characters in this novel. I was attracted to them more by their personality than how Christopher Hurt described them. For example, the way Christopher Hurt described Gale Wynard is pale. But, his personality speaks lot more than it actually is
I did have an extreme reaction to this book. I was often branded a hyper-rational individual who puts his own happiness above all else. This did have an impact on my perception about myself. Am I just selfish but Fountainhead was such an eye opener that being objective is not false and how the greatest leaders of the current era were objective.
I did think the book had some unnecessary details to fill pages. But, I respect the writer's judgement because as she says, Howard Roark built the Cortlandt houses not for the society, not for the money, not for the fame but for himself because he enjoys doing it. Likewise, Ayn Rand wrote this book not for her readers, not for fame and money, not for the society but for herself to picture the idea of a perfect man: Howard Roark