As a literature student and a general reader , I had heard a lot about FountainHead. All the bigshots of the world had this single book as their favorite. To quench my thirst I decided to buy the book and keep it in my bookshelf. I was so damn intimidated by its sheer size that I refused to touch it! After ten years of buying the book I finally mustered the courage to read the book.
I truly enjoyed the first few chapters. Howard Stoark really impressed me. Here was a man who knew everything ! He was like God. He was indifferent to everybody . He chose his college, he chose whom he will work for and he decided what he will build. He wanted a client who will listen to HIM. The client has to live in the house Howard builds. There are no two ways about it.
There is of course the second character , Peter Keating. He will do anything to go on the top. He will listen to people and build a house according to the client's needs. He will agree to work under a person (Francon) so that he can climb up the ladder. He will even kill a person to claim stake in the company. He will two time his girlfriend and be oh-so-cool about it. The girlfriend is like doormat who is ok with everything. She is ok if Peter doesnt visit her for months. She is ok if he agrees to marry her and then says that he wont marry her. She is OK with EVERYTHING! She doesn;t get angry at all!
Then there is a uncle of the girl Elsworth Toohey . He is supposed to represent socialism . He abhors individual success but wants the society to flourish on its own. He hates Howard and loves Peter. He loves his neice a lot. When it comes to his neice he is quite an individual. He doesn't let her do anything she wants. He forces her to work for him and denies her the permission to go to college.
Then there is the great character Dominique Francon. She doesn't like society apparently. She talks in a mysterious way. And every damn man loves her. Every man proposes to her. She refuses each one of them . She apparently doesn;t feel anything for anybody and even uses all the men to her advantage. She uses everything part of society and refuses to acknowledge anything. Because she is Dominique , born with silver spoon and with lots lots lots of money. She has so much money that she goes for a retreat is Pittsburg (ancestral property) and lives with servants all around her to to take care of her.
After going through such polarised characters , I wondered where this story was going to . Then BOOM, It happens. Our Dominique meets the man of her dreams in a quarry(none other than Howard) . She falls for his muscles and body. They stare at each other. And before they have exchanged a hello, he comes to her at night and forces himself physically on her. And she LOVES it!.She wants it even more. He does the deed and leaves and she is purely satisfied that he is SATISFIED. What generosity. He leaves and goes back to New York without informing her. He is an individual you see. She doesn't mind it . Because she is an individual too.
Howard finally gets work , oops sorry , finds someone who will let him work for and gets a contract (Enright house) . Ms Francon meets Howard there again . They act as if they dont know each other(This is normal behaviour) . And in the night , she goes to his place and sleeps with him again. In the morning she does everything to malign Howard(through her News paper articles). WHY ? Even I dont know the answer. But Howard and Dominique know. Because they know everything! Howard keeps saying this ("I know") to everybody who tells him something. How does he know everything? He KNOWS.
Meanwhile our Dominique flirts with Peter and uses him thoroughly. You see she wants to destroy Howard , so she praises Peter to heights so that world notices Peter and hates Howard. Ms Dominique thinks she is the only one who is playing this brilliant game. How she underestimates the world!
Even Elsworth Toohey hates Howard. So he joins with Ms Francon to destroy him. Ms Francon meanwhile continues play Ms Hyde at night. Toohey makes Howard build a temple of humanity through his friend. Howard poor fellow, for the first time doesn;t KNOW. He hires a sculptor by name Steve Mallory and builds the temple. Ms Francon poses nude for the statue to be built in the temple. This is done at night . So NOBODY from the press can ever find that Howard and Ms Francon are having an affair. They are smarter than British Spies. The temple is built and Toohey in his article rejects the temple as an insult to religion! There is a court case and Howard loses it but stands by his work. Ms Francon , who still wants to act(God knows why) gives a testimony against Howard during the trial.
Ms Francon is so upset that she goes to Peter Keating and asks him to marry her. She even tells him that , it is his last chance to HAVE HER. Peter has no choice(or did he have?) but to marry her. That too on her terms. Ms Francon marries the puppy sorry Peter and as soon as the marriage is done , she goes to Howard to sleep with him again. He sleeps . And afterwards she tells him that she has married Peter. Howard offers to marry her if she can take a annulment( so these two great people belive in marriage now???? when they can live-in?) . She says no(dont ask me Why, even I dont know) and goes back to Peter. Howard says that he will wait for her! Why wait dear? She will come to you even if she is married. !
After this , I STOPPED reading the book. I was so disgusted by Howard, felt so pukish when I thought of Ms Francon' character that I couldn't go on further!.
I do not want to Judge anybody but such inconsistencies in characters? One moment you give lectures on society ,hating society and then you use the same society to the hilt(Ms Francon).
You talk about individualism , work , about not taking help from anyone and yet you dont respect others individualism? You build a house where YOU would live in with other's expenses? You force yourself on women and walk away without regret? You should be jailed for it( Mr Howard).
I am sorry , I think I am not so strong hearted to read the book. I saw somewhere in a review that Ms Francon marries Gail Wynad (leaving Peter, thank God) and leaves him and fianlly marries Howard. What mockery of institution of marriage. What a mockery of lower classes. What a mockery of colleges.
The dialogues are also told as if the main characters know everything. This is sickening. Howard is NOT GOD. He is a human and yet he makes humans look so small through his talk, work.
Sorry , I dont think I will every complete the book.