'Atlas' fans set for 50th anniversary

Sept. 30, 2007 at 6:51 PM

IRVINE, Calif., Sept. 30 (UPI) -- Fans of Russian-born author Ayn Rand's classic novel "Atlas Shrugged" are set to recognize the book's 50th anniversary and its impact on the literary world.

Originally released Oct. 10, 1957, "Atlas" continues to draw in new readers nearly 50 years later through its unusual take on an individual's fight against conformity in a pressure-filled government bureaucracy, the Orange County (Calif.) Register said Sunday.

While the Ayn Rand Institute in Irvine, Calif., prepares to honor the book's upcoming anniversary, fans and critics alike have begun debating what makes the 1,168-page book so notable.

"I think the appeal is that the book is an enormously challenging book," Onkar Ghate, a fellow at the institute, said. "The story is gripping. It's exciting. It's a mystery, as she said, and people want to see how the mystery is resolved."

"It's sloppy and it's exuberant and it's overwritten and it's melodramatic," Michael Szalay, an associate English professor, told the Register.

"But that doesn't lessen its interest as a cultural and historical document."

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