The Fiction of Ayn Rand

shelved under Books by... and Fiction

No introduction I could write would do Ayn Rand justice so I'll simply say this: whether you agree with her philosophy of Objectivism or not, Ayn Rand's two massive novels — "The Fountainhead" and "Atlas Shrugged" — are great reads.

What? You don't know what Objectivism is? You're in luck — there's absolutely no better way to school yourself on it than reading "Atlas Shrugged".

 
 

We the Living (1936)

by Ayn Rand, introduction by Leonard Peikoff

Jared Woods from Melbourne says:

We the Living is Ayn Rand's first attempt at exploring her objectivist thoery, set against the backdrop of a communalist/socialist state. Unlike her subsequent works The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, this novel explores the fates of Rand's objectivist characters against the backdrop of state-supported communism.

Powerful, and a sweeping statement about the conditions under which communism and objective realism flourish, the book is an impressive introduction to Rand's philosophy. Written in an era of political upheaval, it stands as part personal experience, part political philosophy and a novel in its own right.

While Rand's subsequent works stand as tribute to the spirit of man under her philosophy, the book tells an all-too-relatable tale of conflict between the will of others and the will of one's self, and the inevitable outcome of a political system which demands submission.

 

Anthem (1938)

by Ayn Rand, introduction by Leonard Peikoff

Anne Charnock says:

Ayn Rand packs her ideas into a short space. This novella, strong on imagery, presents the reader with a totalitarian society in which people no longer use the personal pronoun in the singular form, 'I'. As a result, the writing style initially seems stilted. It's unsettling to read a first-person narrative in which the main character states "Our name is Equality 7-2521... We were born with a curse... We remember the Home of Infants..." and so on. However, it's well worth sticking with. Rand's pet hate is collectivism and she states in her foreward: "Those who want slavery should have the grace to name it by its proper name." And taking the acid test, Anthem's imagery lived with me long after I finished the book.

 

The Fountainhead (1943)

by Ayn Rand

Chris Guillebeau says:

Rand's Atlas Shrugged is better known (and truth to told, better written), but this first full-length book by Ayn Rand provides a good introduction to her philosophy of objectivism through the model of a heroic young architect.

 

Atlas Shrugged (1957)

by Ayn Rand

Miss Hannah says:

Throughout history there have been people who have, through pure genius and hard work, moved mankind beyond its limits. Like Atlas, who carried the world on his shoulders, most of these people lived (and died) unappreciated. But where would we be without them? What would we do if our indifference caused them to stop trying? What if our ingratitude caused them to leave us to our own devices? "Atlas Shrugged" will at different moments leave you feeling confused, disturbed, empowered, powerless, skeptical, and even, for a few pages, bored. But through it all, it will have you fascinated, challenging what you thought you knew about human nature, and maybe even re-examining your stand on many issues. Not a book I would recommend taking to a tropical beach, but a great read for the student of human nature, the soul searcher in every reader.

 

The Fountainhead (on DVD)

For any fan of the book — or really, for any fan of an "epic!" "blockbuster!" "masterpiece!" film, this is a must-see. Cooper and Neal chew up the scenery pretty much exactly as you'd expect.