Review: Atlas Shrugged

Earlier, at ten o’clock, I was tucked up in bed, book in hand, with no remaining responsibilities, nothing to be turned off but the lamp within an arm’s reach. It’s now hours past midnight. Back while in bed, I was quietly enjoying the fact, the freedom, that I could go to sleep easily at the merest of whims, to awake comfortably and refreshed tomorrow ready for a productive day. But all along I knew it’d come to this: I’ve just finished reading part 1 of 3 of my book and I’m really not ready to sleep. Computer keyboard beneath my hands, the screen in front of me, I now sit here at two in the morning with goodness-knows-how-many tabs open, and now I’m typing this. I wish to bring myself to the topic of my book.

It’s really, very interesting. A work of both intriguing narrative and philosophical substance, it follows the bold and successful, eminent yet fatigued businesswoman Dagny Taggart through an imagined regulation-bound, economically crumbling mid-20th Century United States where hard-working, honest intelligences like her own are few and far between; and innovation, freedom and the human spirit are being extinguished by the frightening controlling monopoly that is the federal Government. As I’ve said, I’m only a third of my way through the book; I sincerely look forward to reading the rest. The arguments of economy and philosophy are eloquently illustrative and convincing, although being of a similar political mind as its author Ayn Rand, I have little need to be convinced. Despite this, due to mentionings of it elsewhere I have come to understand this work to be of concrete significance to the libertarian and capitalist polemics, and will no doubt find myself recommending it, or else summoning my impression of its arguments whenever it is called of me in the future.

Directly related to this, there’s a small project I’m thinking of starting. Being an unemployed student does make me feel rather unproductive at times, so I’ve been entertaining the idea of writing an operatic adaptation of the book. For a while I’ve wanted to write narrative opera, or indeed any music. Despite a few lyrics, verses on guitar and some disjointed bars of piano, I have yet to produce anything resembling a complete song, so composing even a theme would be great progress for me. Ultimately, I’ll see where it takes me, I look forward to the undertaking from an educational viewpoint as much as with productive expectations. I’m a great fan of music and musicals of all sorts, and have fair experience and knowledge when it comes to the technicalities of musical theory, but am currently unsure how far this will carry me when it comes to the creative composition of an original score. For now, I am inclined to concede, it’s bedtime.

Oliver.

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