This is almost a first rate novel. It falls short, as do so many modern novels, in the apparent inability of the author (or editor) to be a ruthless surgeon. The story would have been faster paced, the characters more sharply limned, had whole episodes, repetitive and tautological, been eliminated; had long speeches been cut to hare bones. In spite of this excess of verbiage, the novel is a telling one -- and original. Ayn Rand showed in the Living (Macmillan, 1936) an ability to handle groups of people and shifting impacts convincingly, with implicit drama. She has told this time the story of an idealistic young architect, who refused to compromise with popular taste or accepted practice, who starved in the process, but who finally won through to success, as the foremost modernist of his time. A stormy romance crashes across his path, fraught with danger and passion and disillusionment and triumph. Jealousies and hates and resentments cannot touch him, for architecture is his god; and the little spiteful people who thrust at him get punished in the rebound. Others get hurt, too, and Ayn Rand makes full use of a chance to blast the forces of conservatism, of reaction, of compromise. Unfortunately, she falls for the lure of the soapbox, unnecessarily, as her story would have done the trick for her. A contemporary novel.