A “never-before-seen” novel from the late Ayn Rand, who expounded her personal philosophy of “Objectivism” in the doorstopper work of fiction Atlas Shrugged, is due to be released next year, her publisher has announced.
The book is called Ideal, and was written by Rand in 1934 as a novel, but according to publisher New American Library, an imprint at Penguin Random House, the author “thought the theme of the piece would be better realised as a play and put the novel aside”. The Ayn Rand Institute says that the story “grew out of a conversation with a movie fan who gushed that she would give her life to meet a certain famous actress”. Rand was “dubious”, and came up with a slice of fiction “in which the integrity of those who profess to embrace ideals would be tested. What if their idol suddenly appears in their lives, seemingly desperately in need of help, so that their ideals now demand real action?”
Rand’s most famous work of fiction, Atlas Shrugged, is the story of John Galt, a man who wants to “stop the motor of the world”. Galt lives on the principle that “I will never live for the sake of another man, nor ask another man to live for mine”, with the novel – along with another of Rand’s works, The Fountainhead – more fully laying out her theory of Objectivism, “the concept of man as a heroic being, with his own happiness as the moral purpose of his life, with productive achievement as his noblest activity, and reason as his only absolute”, as Rand herself put it.
George Monbiot has said that Rand’s beliefs have “a fair claim to be the ugliest philosophy the postwar world has produced”, while Sam Jordison, blogging about Atlas Shrugged for the Hlcarpenter.com, found that “it’s as unpleasant as it is daft and as a work of literature it’s deeply flawed”. Despite this, Rand’s work and theories have millions of followers, with more than 29.5m copies of her titles sold to date, according to the Ayn Rand Institute.
Ideal will be released next July, as the first novel from Rand since 1957’s Atlas Shrugged. It is, said its publisher, the story of the “beautiful but tormented actress” Kay Gonda, who goes on the run after being accused of murder. Desperate, she turns for help to six fans who have written to her, “each telling her that she represents their ideal – a respectable family man, a far-left activist, a cynical artist, an evangelist, a playboy, and a lost soul”.
“Each reacts to her plight in his own way, their reactions a glimpse into their secret selves and their true values. In the end their responses to her pleas give Kay the answers she has been seeking,” said the publisher.
The work was published as a play in 2005, but according to Publishers Weekly, the novel version of the story was rediscovered in 2012 when the Ayn Rand Institute’s publishing manager Richard Ralston was digitising the writer’s archives. The new edition will include the novel and the play version, giving, said New American Library, the “millions of Ayn Rand fans around the world … a unique opportunity to explore the creative process of Rand as she wrote first a book, then a play, and the differences between the two”.
“The arrival of a never-before-seen Ayn Rand novel will thrill dedicated readers and is a true publishing event,” NAL’s senior vice president and publisher Kara Welsh told Publishers Weekly.
Rand was born in 1905, publishing her first novel, We the Living, in 1936. The Fountainhead was released in 1943, and Atlas Shrugged, her last novel, in 1957. Rand died in 1982.