Authors can often become synonymous with the theories or philosophies they espouse in their books.
The late Ayn Rand is one such writer. She is perhaps the best known thinker of libertarian ideas. Her novels Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead are grounded strongly in the idea that the individual is greater than the collective. But even Rand wasn't always political in her writings.
In 2015 her novel/play Ideal was posthumously released for the first time. I'm a huge fan of Rand, and having already read Atlas Shrugged, The Fountainhead, We the Living, Anthem and various other works of hers, I immediately went out to buy Ideal.
While it may have some ideological underpinnings, it doesn't come off nearly as heavy-handed as her other works. Ideal reads far-more like a thriller than a dogmatic manifesto of libertarian ideals.
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The novel follows protagonist Kay Gonda, a movie celebrity who is suspected of murder. In each chapter she seeks refuge from the police at a different fan's home. Each fan recognizes Gonda, and various exciting, nerve-wracking and intense moments occur at each house.
Certainly the novel/play has some hints toward Rand's rugged individualistic ideology, but it is subtle compared to her other works.
Perhaps Ideal was written before Rand's philosophy – which she called objectivism – had fully developed. Although it wasn't published until last year, by her "ideological heir" Leonard Peikoff, Rand wrote Ideal in 1934, before any of her other works of fiction. We the Living followed in 1936, Anthem in 1938, The Fountainhead in 1943, and her magnum opus, Atlas Shrugged in 1957. She also wrote various pieces of nonfiction including The Virtue of Selfishness, The Romantic Manifesto, and For the New Intellectual.
Ideal is sold as a two-part book and includes both the novel and the play version.