I end my first week’s reading assignment finally feeling a bit like I’m not reading a pig in a poke. However, the first half of the chapter makes me wonder if Rand wouldn’t have been helped with a bit more editing, although she strikes me as the type to not be very enthusiastic about that.
Chapter summary: We learn that the San Sebastián lines are worthless. There’s a long (too long) flashback discussing Dagny and Francisco d’Aconia growing up together, how “Frisco” was always better, smarter, and faster than “Slug,” and how they were briefly lovers before Frisco appeared to have a mental break and turn into a reckless, feckless playboy. Back in the present, Dagny confronts Francisco about apparently deliberately trying to destroy the Mexican government and Taggert Transcontinental, among others. He demurs, demurs, then demurs some more, and tells her she’s not ready yet to understand. And, oh yeah, he pretends to have no knowledge of Halley’s Fifth.
I think that Rand spent too much time demonstrating Francisco’s superiority on all levels, as well as his commitment to having a point. I realize, having read the second part of the chapter, that her reason for doing so is to establish that there must be something deep and manipulative beneath his apparent ruthless recklessness. We are left with some tantalizing mysteries, at least. Is d’Aconia correct that he has effectively destroyed Taggert? His intention appears to be to destroy the cartels as a whole, but it’s hard to believe that if he’s meant to be Rand’s Ideal Man (and he seems the obvious candidate at this still-early point) that his intentions are wholly altruistic, and even socialistic.
950 pages to go. 😉