<< Originally posted on my blogspot blog on Tuesday, September 06,2005 >>
Here is a brief review of one of the best books i have ever read:
Mindblowing!!!! Too good!! I agree that we’d perhaps hate Roark if we face him in our surroundings, but the way the books presents him is superb.
The book is principally divided into four sections: each dedicated to one of the prominent characters:
Peter Keating: The loser..Easily the most hateable character,but at the same time,it’s the character which you can find most easily around you. He starts on a great note topping his batch and all.But he’s never confident of what he does. He lives his life second-handedly,depending on others in all his decisions. His dependence on others’ is so much that he marries a woman she does not love,but she knows that her beauty will impress people and her connections will bring him business.He thrives on the work of others.We hate him,but are not many of us him somewhat like him??
The book makes you hate him from the start and you continue to do so till the end.
Ellsworth Toohey: The manipulator. It’s the kinda person many adore as being saintly or something. To the world,he appears to be as benevolent as one can be, but in fact he’s embodiment of evil and corruption. He has got the art of winning the people’s heart by showing himself as preacher n follower of selflessness. He hates people who have got real talent,but instead of attacking it straightaway,he chooses a different path to belittle talent: by appreciating the average aur mediocre stuff.
In his own words,“Don’t set out to raze all shrines – you’ll frighten men, Enshrine mediocrity and the shrines are razed.”
This is my fav quote from the book.Another of my fav quote is also by him “Every loneliness is a pinnacle”
The book makes you like him first, but by the end,u hate him more than Keating,who at last evokes some sympathy.
Gail Wynand: The powerful.. Gail Wynand is definitely the most loved character after Roark. In fact, there are many,who love him even more than Roark. He’s truly a self-made man,a man who came from the gutter and rose to become the media tycoon by giving people what they want. At the same time,it’s he who actually decide what they want.His Banner is not an opinion-reflecting paper,it’s more of an opinion-forming type. The people who have grown addicted to live second-handedly dare not go against the views expressed by Banner and convince themselves that they like the stuff appreciated by the Banner. Wynand draws amusement from killing people’s conviction. He’s almost a misanthrope,who lives for himself. The best part of his character is reflected by the name he gives to his luxury yacht: “I do”,which is his answer to the response he encountered most in his childhood “You dont run things around here”
In the first two halves of the book,you hate him,but as the book delves deeper into his character, you begin to love him more and more.
Hey!!! Isn’t Wynand’s Banner almost like our TOI??
Howard Roark:The Fountainhead
Howard is the heart and soul of the book.Well,i agree that the character is an ideal one and it’s a bit impractical to be Roarkish in our daily life,but the character teaches you how to respect self in an amazing way.He is a man,who lives his life for himself. He does not follow the conventions of the worlds,nor does he care what people think of him. His passion for his work is religious and the only reward he wants is the satisfaction that he did it himslef.
His conviction for self is praiseworthy.
A fav quote of mine by Roark “To say I Love You, you must first learn to say “I” ”
His aura is so powerful that he’s able to change and have an impact on the other two powerful characters of the book:Wynand and Dominique.
The highest point of the book is Roarks’s speech in the end:the stuff is really moving .He openly says “I wished to come here and say that I am a man who does not exist for others” Drawing parallel between the creator and the parasite,he gives excellent arguments,that make you think twice about the life you are living.
Whether or not you find the characters realistic,there’s no doubt that the book as a whole offers you a lot of food for thought.It is a modern classic and definitely worth reading at least once. yeah,it’s pretty voluminous,but once you finish it,it’ll take some time before you can put Rorak and Wynand (may be Toohey too) off ur mind.