When I was fresh from college and could read whatever the heck I wanted all the time, somehow I picked up a copy of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. The heft of it was a bit daunting, but I just about ate it up (around the same time I also devoured The Stand.) It was so entertaining. Then again, I hadn’t read much of anything that wasn’t philosophy or literary fiction in a while. (Yes, you could argue that Atlas Shrugged is indeed both, but at heart it is still a novel. Which leads me to…)
Anthem. Which is, as I understand it, like the more philosophy-heavy novella which would lead Rand down a road of gradually tucking her philosophy into a more reader-friendly package. Atlas Shrugged was her final draft, in a way, on her quest to put the pill into the peanut butter.
Anthem is interesting, and I enjoyed it as a novella. But is also a bit heavy-handed on the preaching, especially when you just wish you could spend more time with the characters, setting, and story. On another level, though, the preaching works since the novella is in epistolary form, and what we are hearing is not just a story, but the anthem of a man.
Not my favorite book, but definitely worth the read if you enjoy dystopic fiction. I got lost a bit when Rand started wandering into the weeds of objectivism, me, me, me, blah, blah, blah… But if you want a book to read in a day, to pass some time (or you just enjoy the shorter form), this is one that might do you. I enjoyed it.