Sunday, February 01, 2009

My One Complaint About 'Atlas Shrugged,' 2009

Stuart K. Hayashi

Writing this is an annual tradition for me, as February 2, 2009, marks 104 years to the day of Ayn Rand's birth. Of course, American culture associates the date of February 2 with yet another tradition. It is said that, on this day, if a politician crawls out of his hole and sees his shadow, then we will have sixty more years of federal farm subsidies.

A crusty old man once said to me, "I find Ayn Rand's writings v-e-r-y l-o-n-g - w-i-n-d-e-d."

I beg to differ with his assessment. On second thought, I don't even beg; his assessment is plain wrong. When I read a 1985 paperback edition of Atlas Shrugged, I enjoyed every syllable on each of its 1,084 pages. (Previously, I mistakenly said that this edition was 1,087 pages.) The prose sparked vivid images that made me feel as if I were gazing upon an exquisite painting.

Unfortunately, it all went by too quickly. Almost every other novel I read was much longer, or, at least, that's how it felt.

I was so enthralled by the grandeur of Atlas that I was quite sad to finish it. It was as if I were a small child again, and summer was coming to an end, and I was parting with a dear friend and playmate whom I would not be able to see again for the rest of the year.

And so I have only one complaint about Atlas Shrugged:

It was too short. :'-)