Thursday, January 04, 2007

Roark. And Roarkness

Just a few brief words tonight, coming to you LIVE from Starbucks in the Chapters bookstore!
As you have probably deciphered [after I’ve mentioned it at least 16 times now], I am reading The Fountainhead.
Need I even mention the name of the author?
If you do not know her, see the photo in this morning’s Splash du Jour.
There she is, looking as powerful as ever. As if she could crack walnuts with her elbows!
I am thoroughly enjoying the book, and I am now in the last of the four sections. Part IV, entitled Howard Roark.
My reading partner has suggested that the book in its entirety is as much about Dominique [the woman who loves Roark] as it is about Roark himself. And I agree. When it comes to character development, more time and print is given over to Dominique. Yet, there can be no great degree of character development in Dominique, without the presence of Roark.
He is the quintessential individualist.
He makes a great impression on all who meet him.
And I myself feel that I have met him here, and I am impressed.

I may one day write an essay on my interpretation of Roark and his overall Roarkness, but not tonight.
Tonight, I simply wanted to relate an incident that took place about five minutes ago.
I wandered from my table and ended up in the Rand section of the fiction shelves. I picked out a book entitled The Early Ayn Rand: A Selection From Her Unpublished Fiction.
I flipped through it and my eyes landed upon the title of the penultimate chapter. It’s called Roark and Cameron.
[In The Fountainhead, Henry Cameron was Roark’s architectural mentor.]
Here’s what happened. → I instantly said to myself, “How interesting. I wonder what Roark is up to, in this lost chapter.”
And I started to devour the words.
Nothing unusual in that, except for the fact that I realized, after reading a bit, that I was not thinking of him as a fictional character! I was ACTUALLY WONDERING WHAT HE WAS UP TO!
As though he were REAL, and here on the bookstore shelf I had inadvertently stumbled upon some shards of further information about the man.
And so it is that I find it remarkable that an author has succeeded in doing this to me!
Rand has made me BELIEVE in Roark.
And Roarkness!

Interestingly enough, in the Fountainhead chapter I just finished reading prior to my wanderings, the character of newspaper tycoon Mr. Gail Wynand was doing the same thing. Finding himself amazed with Roark.
Wynand had just met with Roark for the first time, and in that meeting, had asked, “Have you always liked being Howard Roark?”
I love what Ayn Rand tells us, happened next….
Roark smiled. The smile was amused, astonished, involuntarily contemptuous.
“You’ve answered,” said Wynand.

Too soon it will end.
It’s shaping up to be one of the most enjoyable and significant novels I have read in a long while!



RnBram said...

Nice –an adult who actually considers what Ayn Rand is saying. Reading your comments was interesting.

Those who read Rand because they keep hearing how awful her works are, read her in order to sneer. That attitude predisposes them to misunderstanding 90% of the value she holds. Then they echo the sneers of their peers in their own words. That way they can sound smart and original!

Of course, that's how many Arts Program Profs get famous and how most students get grades, by echoing in their own words. Morons in Mortar Boards massaging each others' egos. Any who disagree are arrogant, their worst fear is a real thinker.

Stefanie said...

I read a Rand novel several years ago. I can't remember which one it was because I disliked it so much I just had to block it out of my mind. I do remember it was blessedly short. But by golly, Cip, you are making me want to run to the library for a copy of The Fountainhead!

Matt said...

OMG As you know Cip I have been a follower of what you read (LOL...) And I'm appalled that you're reading something that I've contrived at all expense to put off since secondary school.

It's not so much the gigantic volume of her works that detered me from even attempting them, it's something more intrinsic as if I will dread reading them. But hey, I'll read at least one Ayn Rand this year!

cipriano said...

Great comments, rnbram!

Oh Stefanie... I encourage you to give Rand one more triumphant effort. I am loving the book.

Matt, you crack me up. I'll tell you why!
I too have dreaded the reading of Rand... mostly because I was scared of her philosophy, honestly I was! For years, years YEARS I have avoided her.
But now, oh I must say, I am pleasantly enjoying this novel. It is making me "think" as few novels have.
I want to read her Atlas Shrugged!
Now there's a doorstop if I have ever seen one!
Makes The Fountainhead look like Le Petit Prince!

Isabella said...

I read a handful of Rand back in the day, and I loved it. I never much cared for her philosophy, and I found I was often reading the books to mean the opposite of how they were intended (that is, I remember the "bad guys" looking good to me and vice versa (esp We the Living), or they're "bad" for different reasons). She's often dismissed as a literary lightweight, but if the work's open to interpretation and provokes discussion, hell, it's worth something.