It took me two months to read this book and I enjoyed every word. If you want to fully understand what everyone who mentions Atlas Shrugged is talking about, and who the heck John Galt is, it is well worth the effort. You don’t have to agree with everything Rand says and her philosophy of Objectivism to appreciate her genius in storytelling and the value of having ideals and standards.
I have read reviews that complain about the characters being flat and unrealistic. I think you have to get over this and understand that every character is really a symbol or a tool to help the reader understand Rand’s philosophy. You have to understand the format of the work and cannot compare it to other novels that develop characters in a different way. Personally, I loved reading the dialogues between all the characters, particularly Dagny, Reardon and Francisco because their deliveries were so cool-minded and controlled. I would love to be able to talk like that sometimes!
I kept a long list of characters and companies and organizations as they were mentioned in the story and this list helped me keep track of the hundreds of references that appear. What I found most impressive about Rand was that, despite the 1070 pages in my version, there are no unnecessary references. If you meet a character or read about something on page 100, you can be sure it is important and you will see the reference again, even if it is 500 pages later.
So give it a try! And then you can answer the question, “Who is John Galt?”
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