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Ideal Hardcover – July 7, 2015
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''Ayn Rand is destined to rank in history as the outstanding novelist and most profound philosopher of the twentieth century.'' --New York Daily Mirror, praise for the author --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
About the Author
Born February 2, 1905, Ayn Rand published her first novel, We The Living, in 1936. Anthem followed in 1938. It was with the publication of The Fountainhead (1943) and Atlas Shrugged (1957) that she achieved her spectacular success. Rand's unique philosophy, Objectivism, is still widely discussed today.
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Top Customer Reviews
By Thomas M. Miovas, Jr.
“Ideal” is a novel about a young, idealistic, and beautiful actress -- Kay Gonda -- who is troubled by the state of the world as she attempts to present the ideal in life on the silver screen – that life can be auspicious, grand; well worth living. She has achieved a great success and has millions of adoring fans; but on the night rumors are spread that she has murdered a millionaire, the last man she was seen with, she decides to visit several fans who have written her unusually perceptive fan letters stating that they know of her ideal and would defend that ideal to the end of their lives. As she goes to meet them, the reader is permitted to read the letters they had written her. Along with very accurate and telling character sketches, one gets to see how they will take the fact that she is asking for protection from the authorities on the night of the accusation. Will they defend and protect the ideals they have identified, even if only vaguely; or will they betray it in the presence of she who fully embodies that ideal? This is the issue raised by “Ideal;” and the reactions of her fans is poignant and revealing of who they really are, each in turn, as they consider the issues in her presence.
Is “Ideal” a tragedy or a triumph?
You'd have to read the novel to understand the answer to that question.
While not as great as her later works, particularly Atlas Shrugged, this already shows the power in her writing. Her writing of a perfect man and the woman who idealizes that perfection. Her later character of Dominique Francon could be Kay Gonda in an earlier version. The description of Johnnie Dawes' garret could be John Galt's garret.
All in all, glad that I had the opportunity to experience Ayn Rand's writing again. For anyone who loves the writing of Rand, it is worth reading. The difference in the novel and the play shows her versatility, too.
Who is John Galt?
“Ideal” is the story of a famous actress in Hollywood who pulls a prank on the world in an attempt to test the mettle of a select group of men who claimed to have honor. The tale ends with the ruse itself backfiring, resulting in the death of the only man of character. It is a short story, not heavily edited and which she turned into a play after she realized that format would work better; a play which itself has never been produced.
For me the story is interesting because it shines a light on Rand’s state of mind when things were not going very well – when she was not ‘at the top of her game’. And it highlights the creative, perhaps natural frustration in the mind of a woman who has become one of the world champions of humanism, as she is forced to interact with real people. Rand was never a fan of idealists – in her philosophy a person must live out their beliefs in their daily life; else those beliefs were shown to never really have existed in the first place. Words were never enough. Nevertheless – as “Ideal” attempts to portray – for too many people, words do seem to be enough. For too many people, the hard reality of living their convictions is too often cast aside for the expediency of the moment, justified by a greater good or a lesser evil.
This book highlights well Rand’s disappointment in men who fall short of their own soaring rhetoric. “Ideal” is perhaps the antithesis to “We the Living”; while the latter is a story about the triumph of a woman against the odds, “Ideal” is a recognition of the occasional futility of life. If for that reason alone you should read it.
Rand’s admirers might find consolation in seeing a gifted writer’s early struggles to learn her craft. That she did in fact learn it - in her second language no less - and then soldier on to later pen the incomparable "Atlas Shrugged" was a remarkable achievement worthy of applause.