Monday, April 12, 2010

The Fountainhead

This is an okay book written by Ayn Rand. Howard Roark is a motivated young student who is expelled from the Stanton Institute of Technology because he is tired of all the classical structures and only wants to make buildings based on his own ideas. He heads to New York City to work for disgraced architect Henry Cameron. Another student, Peter Keating, also finds work in New York and builds successful but unoriginal buildings. Even though Keating achieves financial success, he despises Roark. Howard is eventually talked into doing a low income housing project, but when the government refuses to follow his plans, he decides to destroy the building and is put on trial.

I didn't enjoy the focus on architecture and it seemed like Roark did a lot of things that actually hurt his career and ideas, choosing the hardest path whenever he had a choice. Also his individualism didn't have much of an impact on anyone until the end of the novel.

The book was published in 1943 and over 5 million copies have been sold. A film version was produced in 1949 starring Gary Cooper. In the 1987 film Dirty Dancing, waiter and future medical student, Robbie Gould has a copy of the book. In the 2006 film, A Scanner Darkly, a character attempting suicide picks The Fountainhead as an artifact to be found with his remains.

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