I’ve never really seriously considered reading Ayn Rand’s books; I’ve never heard anything good about either her prose style and plotting or her politics, so at that point, why bother? But it was available on the Serial Reader app when I was first trying it out, and it was only eight installments long, and I talked with someone else who was reading it, and… ended up giving it a go.
It’s basically a parable against collectivist politics, the total celebration of the ego. It’s not totally without compassion for one’s fellow being — even after discovering the word ‘I’, the narrator does want to go back and find other people like himself. But it is all about making yourself the most important person, and seeking what you want, and damn what society needs to be cohesive. Obviously, neither extreme much appeals to me, at least as portrayed here. Other books have had a more honest crack at collectivist societies, like Le Guin’s The Dispossessed; that both criticises and examines. I’d stick to that, or even to Zamyatin’s We, which is similar to this book in theme but better written.
I don’t regret reading it, but I wouldn’t read anything else by Rand — this gives a clear enough view of her politics.