Mr. Noodle

Mr. Noodle
Mr. Noodle

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Where is my head?

For the past few weeks, my head has been in a book A heady book. A very famous book.

Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand.

In advance of moving to the United States, I made it a project of mine to read (or at least listen via audiobook) those novels considered great American fiction. And while I know Ayn Rand was not American (she was a Russian nationalist that emigrated to the United States), her books are set in the US. Atlas is the first of her books that I have encountered, but I'm told they all have a similar flavour.

I understood, after having watched a documentary of her some years ago, that her ideas were extremely fascist. She had come from the worst clutches of Stalin's communism and thrown into the big flag-waving American capitalism when capitalism (as an ideology) was lauded and relatively new. This book is a dystopic view of what happens when the two ideologies clash with each other.

It's interesting talking to people who have read this book, who have read Rand's other works. Fountainhead is often read in high school classrooms. Dan told me last night that Atlas Shrugged was her magnum opus. Dan has read everything she wrote. Kirsten has read much of Rand's work too. Our conversations about this book and her ideas have been so interesting.

See I'm ramping up to leave next week(!) and I pretty much have everything done. So I have been listening to this book, this epic 63-hour tome (but I'm listening to it at 1.5 speed, so it is going more quickly), while loading the dishwasher, doing laundry, repacking my things, (playing Pocket Frogs on my iPhone), and knitting. I'm about eight hours from finishing. I can't stop thinking about the story.

It has me interested in reading other tales of dystopia. The only one I have read is Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale, and that was back in 1995 when I was a new college student. Other recommendations have been Animal Farm, Nineteen Eighty Four, Lord of the Flies, and Anthem. Do you have any suggestions? Please leave them in the comments below.

For a long time I have been thinking about writing a novel. I know I have at least one in me, but I never had an idea for a story before. I have tons of ideas, I'm discovering, for what my version of a dystopia would be. I am very interested in this genre of fiction. Having a literature background, I would be sure to employ the use of many literary devices. Where does one begin when writing such a story? With the plot? Setting? Character? What is the message I want to convey? Which philosophers do I need to read? (I'm going to start with Plato). This is where my head is. As I was running on the treadmill yesterday (did I tell you I'm training for a marathon?), I was thinking about what social movements would need to happen in a fictional setting in order for my version of a dystopia would exist. It's a great head space to be in. Not quite reality but inspired and informed by it.

So I'm not committing to writing a novel, but I am at least in the head space of considering it. I'm making notes, thinking about how to go about researching this. I'll keep you posted if I have any further developments.

1 comment:

  1. I've read Animal Farm and Lord of the Flies, both quite interesting and thought-provoking.

    Best of luck with your travels and the rest of Rand's book.