Sunday, July 3, 2022

[Book Review] Night of January 16th - Ayn Rand

Writer: Ayn Rand
Publisher: Signet
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 121 pages
Publishing date: 2nd, January 1971
Language: English
Genre: Plays, Fiction, Philosophy, Drama, Classics
Source: Gift from a dear friend
Read on June, 19th 2022
My rating: 5 of 5

Buy a hard copy at Periplus (ID) or a digital copy at Amazon (INT)
On one level, Night of January 16th is a totally gripping drama about the rise and destruction of a brilliant and ruthless man. On a deeper level, it is a superb dramatic objectification of Ayn Rand's vision of human strength and weakness. Since its original Broadway success, it has achieved vast worldwide popularity and acclaim.

"Who is on trial in this case? Karen Andre? No! It's you, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, who are here on trial. It is your own souls that will be brought to light when your decision is rendered.”

Last year I got Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand as a gift, I always know that this friend is a big fan of Ayn Rand, and on one fine day while this dear friend tried to rearrange collection of books, I saw the book and was surprised with the title and the author. The author is Ayn Rand, a philosopher who was famous for Objectivism, hence the title of her book is very dramatic, what makes me surprised that the night of January 16th was one of an unforgettable day in my life, the day where I have an accident that left me with Anosmia for more than 10 years (but I'm healed now after infected by Covid-19, yea life is weird). Long story short this book become mine, and here is my review.

Please bear in mind that this book was a play.

The play takes place in the courtroom, trying to determine who killed Bjorn Faulkner, a millionaire who had swindled millions from investors. Married with a daughter of his investors but then falling into bankruptcy, upon his bankruptcy on the night of January 16th, Faulkner is seen falling from the top of his building. His mistress, ex-secretary, Karen Andre, is on trial for the possible murder of Faulkner. The case gets much more complicated as witnesses speak. I must say very little evidence was provided but full of twists here and there.

What was interesting about this play is, that this is a murder trial without a prearranged verdict. The jurors are to be selected from audience. They are to witness the play as real jurors and bring in verdicts at the end of the last act. Two short endings are written for the play- to be used according to the verdict. 

Rather than commenting on how the plot was, it took me a moment to think. If I was a jury, how I decide the fate of Karen Andre? Although this book was an early work of Ayn Rand, far before the objectivism idea was born. But by reading this book, my conscience kept telling me to think and decide objectively. 

Anyway, this is an exciting book to read, a very thin book that you can read in one seat. From 122 pages, 16 first pages are full of the introduction from Ayn Rand on how successful this play was on Broadway, and She disagreed with a number of changes made by an amateur version of the play and the Broadway producer who makes the play famous, so she edited the script for publication as the "definitive" version, where in the book she said "Up to now, I had felt as if it were an illegitimate child roaming the world. Now, with this publication, it becomes legitimately mine. And. Although it has played all over the world, I feel as if it were a play that has never been produced."

To the world, he was a startlingly successful international tycoon, head of a vast financial empire. To his beautiful secretary-mistress, he was a god-like hero to be served with her mind, soul and body. To his aristocratic young wife, he was an elemental force of nature to be tamed. To his millionaire father-in-law, he was a giant whose single error could be used to destroy him.

What kind of man was Bjorn Faulkner? Only you, the reader, can decide.

Definitely for Ayn Rand fan! or anyone who loves to read a play or anyone who wants to test your conscience, by becoming a jury on a murder trial.

Happy reading fellas!

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