The Sacred or the Profane: Atlas Shrugged

(Picture: The pic is not mine :) I picked it from Google Images result for the search 'Atlas Shrugged'. The tatoo on the lady's belly is the summary of the book)

Amid a lot of encouraging whistles and discouraging boos, I finally got around reading Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. This review may be for people who read the book more than people who want to read it. It is a good book and I stand in between people who say it is sacred and others who say it is profane. It is a nice read, and I felt just like how I felt after reading Rand's Fountainhead -- may be I should have read it many years ago.

The first time I came to know of Ayn Rand was when I was reading a book called 'The Old School' and the author ridiculed Rand so badly that I *had* to read Fountainhead. My first taste of a part of Atlas Shrugged was when I watched Abhishek Bacchan's movie Guru. I did not realize it then, but when I was reading one of the main character in the book, Hank Reander's monologue during a court scene, I felt the last court scene in Guru was the Hindi translation of this section. The book is powerful and fast paced, Ayn Rand is a good story teller but her characters are all extremes which makes it difficult to relate to any of them.

The main protagonists are detached from society and regular human emotion in general, and are bound by some strange telepathic bond. The characters seem to have reincarnated from Fountain Head and I could not resist observe the names of the main characters in both the books -- Howard Roark and Hank Rearden...and finally, in the comparison section, what's with Ayn Rand and making?

Rand's parallel agenda seems to be to preach her philosophy of Objectivism through her character's dialogs which makes the long plot, longer. I was a little exhausted when I reached the last 150 pages of the book. Every 50 pages introduced a twist and good one at that which kept the momentum going but after a while, I wished she kept the book thinner. The main purpose of all the characters seem to be self-destruction. Each one had their own style and reason for it but everyone seemed to put themselves through some unnecessary self-imposed punishment. But overall, I liked how easily Rand preached philosophy through fiction.

After reading 2 of her books and reading up about Objectivism on the side, I feel her philosophy makes a lot of sense and gives a great deal of inspiration for individual achievements but imagine a world full of Ayn Rand heros and heroines...and I would find myself on a look out for another planet to inhabit. If I read another Ayn Rand book, it has to be her biography. With so much of similarity between two of her books, the third is going to become way too predictable for me.