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AemJeff
05-08-2011, 11:13 PM
I think this is pretty amusing. William F. Buckley on Atlas Shrugged: Big Sister Is Watching You (http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/222482/big-sister-watching-you/flashback?page=1)

The news about this book seems to me to be that any ordinarily sensible head could possibly take it seriously, and that, apparently, a good many do. Somebody has called it: “Excruciatingly awful.” I find it a remarkably silly book. It is certainly a bumptious one. Its story is preposterous. It reports the final stages of a final conflict (locale: chiefly the United States, some indefinite years hence) between the harried ranks of free enterprise and the “looters.” These are proponents of proscriptive taxes, government ownership, Labor, etc. etc. The mischief here is that the author, dodging into fiction, nevertheless counts on your reading it as political reality. “This,” she is saying in effect, “is how things really are. These are the real issues, the real sides. Only your blindness keeps you from seeing it, which, happily, I have come to rescue you from.”

operative
05-08-2011, 11:15 PM
That was actually Whittaker Chambers, though Buckley was similarly unenthused by Rand's work.

AemJeff
05-08-2011, 11:19 PM
That was actually Whittaker Chambers, though Buckley was similarly unenthused by Rand's work.

You're right, op. I should have h/t'd Ebert, whose tweet actually read "William F. Buckley printed this review..." I was too quick. (For some reason I can't load twitter for the link at the moment.)

chiwhisoxx
05-08-2011, 11:23 PM
Something people don't mention enough about Ayn Rand is that she's a really, really bad writer.

operative
05-08-2011, 11:42 PM
Something people don't mention enough about Ayn Rand is that she's a really, really bad writer.

This is true. Her books are virtually indefensible on the level of fiction literature, truly awful stuff.

Simon Willard
05-09-2011, 12:58 AM
This is true. Her books are virtually indefensible on the level of fiction literature, truly awful stuff.

And don't forget that Buckley was a fairly accomplished novelist himself, and very sensitive about the quality of prose. Rand's books are about ideas, not great writing.

miceelf
05-09-2011, 11:57 AM
And don't forget that Buckley was a fairly accomplished novelist himself, and very sensitive about the quality of prose. Rand's books are about ideas, not great writing.

That's a pretty ungenerous statement about ideas.

stephanie
05-09-2011, 12:12 PM
Something people don't mention enough about Ayn Rand is that she's a really, really bad writer.

It gets mentioned a lot, IME. However, it may also be true that it doesn't get mentioned enough, although I mostly think she doesn't deserve the critical attention necessary to point it out.

chiwhisoxx
05-09-2011, 03:02 PM
I found the whole thing on NRO, and found this passage from Chambers fairly amusing:

"It is the more persuasive, in some quarters, because the author deals wholly in the blackest blacks and the whitest whites. In this fiction everything, everybody, is either all good or all bad, without any of those intermediate shades which, in life, complicate reality and perplex the eye that seeks to probe it truly. This kind of simplifying pattern, of course, gives charm to most primitive story-telling."

Boy does this call for some Freudian analysis. I can certainly understand why Whittaker Chambers would be sensitive to black and white portrayals, given his own past he was presumably trying to escape...