SP Mugler's Reviews > Anthem

Anthem by Ayn Rand
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Sep 02, 2011

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bookshelves: science-fiction, fiction, novella, 1930s, philophical-fiction, objectivism, dystopian, audiobooks, 20th-century
Read from September 02 to 04, 2011 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** "Anthem" completes my readings of Rand's novels. It is my favorite of the four, probably because I'm more of a fan of science fiction than historical romance, which "The Fountainhead," "Atlas Shrugged," and "We The Living" all are.

"Anthem" is also the shortest and most simply written. The writing style reflects the main character's restricted formal education, a style which I believe contributes to other reviewers' complaints of shallow character development. While I did find the personality of his love interest extremely underdeveloped and too submissive to the main character, the narrative is written in diary form and is thus the concentrated expression of a single individual's psychology. The woman's mix of independent pride and devoted submission to her lover seems contradictory but doesn't contradict Rand's concept of romance laid out in her other novels.

Only at the end does the main character launch into one of Rand's signature lengthy and idealistic monologues, one I didn't find overly lengthy and did enjoy though, as always, I harbored some reservations for her philosophical statements. However, my only major qualm is that I don't like the very last line. I find her use of "ego" for the final word jarring as it had not been previously introduced. Though I do understand her philosophical reasons for reserving the ultimate ending for and thus placing the heaviest emphasis on "ego," I think the novel would have been more artistically organic had it ended with "I," as it is the narrative's mystery word.

Overall a good work considerably more abstract in style, format, and narrative setting than Rand's other fictions. I was surprised to see how many reviewers rated "Anthem" 1-2 stars. Many of them seem incredibly bias against Rand, expected something similar to her lengthier narratives, or obviously didn't pay much attention while reading the book. If you don't like her persona, ideas, or other novels, or if you don't like abstract sci-fi stories or simplistic writing style, then don't read the book. If you have to read the book for school, don't review it unless you actually read it and not skimmed over it, otherwise you'll sound like an idiot to those who really did read it.

On a strictly personal note, I found "Anthem" a refreshing break from all the nonfiction I have been going through lately.
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Aeryck Sade Although I do not personally agree with her political views in her philosophy, I have read almost all of her books and love them all.

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