I am an Objectivist so yes, I agree with Rand. Let's get that out of the way first. I am not going to review this book on it's philosophical merits (which I believe this book has in spades, Your Mileage May Vary of course), but rather as a piece of literature. Yes, it is didactic, Anvilicious, the opposite of subtle. Rand will use fifty allegories to demonstrate a principle, then she will lampshade the principle, THEN will have a character give a speech on the principle before finally abandoning the hectoring. So yes, this is NOT the kind of book to read if you like subtle allegory that is open to reader interpretation. Some of the characters are cardboard cut-outs, although not all of them are (I strongly disagree with the position that Dagny Taggart is a Mary Sue. Escapist Character, yes, but this is a work of epic fiction! Are Superman, Gilgamesh, Achilles etc. all Marty Stu's? Dagny is an idealized female character, but she is on par with the heroes in the fiction (hence not a God Mode Sue) and nor does the logic of the world around her bend and twist (Black Hole Sue)). Rand's writing is about the ideas she is discussing; characters are just vehicles to show the ideas off. So yes, the lectures can get annoying (even I find it hard to get through The Speech in one reading), the characters aren't always the most intriguing, and there is a significant chance you will hate it if you disagree with its message. Now for the good points: The plot is phenomenal, fast paced and rife with tension. It is a long book but for some reason you simply cannot put the book down. It manages to make its philosophical ideas comprehensible (albiet at the cost of some oversimplification). Rand's tone is strident and bitter but I love this: the utter defiance with which Rand manages to state her views with total lack of guilt or apologeticness.. Atlas Shrugged is one giant "fuck you" to the entire Judeao-Christian-Altruist moral tradition and the way it makes its case so defiantly is thrilling. It is also more accessible and fast-paced than The Fountainhead, probably due to its relative lack of subtlety. It also manages to produce a character that is a model of a competent, heroic woman: Dagny Taggart (even Women's Studies courses have started including Atlas Shrugged on their reading lists). Your Mileage May Vary, but give Atlas a chance before you dismiss it.
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