- Publisher: SIMON & SCHUSTER
- Format: Hardback | 159 pages
- Dimensions: 145mm x 216mm x 25mm | 272g
- Publication date: 10 January 2012
- ISBN 10: 1451673264
- ISBN 13: 9781451673265
- Sales rank: 102,717
Ray Bradbury's internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of twentieth-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family." But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn't live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.
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By Jonathan Curry 23 Oct 2013
"loved the movieBook rating: 3
stuart mcintyre: if the book is as good as the old movie it has a great concept"
Though this novel is most often classed as 'dystopian', depending on the connection one has with books and reading it could find an easy home amongst the macabre horror novels of Shelley and Stoker. Bradbury creates a post-literature reality where books, all books, are forbidden as they are considered sources of confusion and unhappiness.
Personally, though an avid reader, I rarely review books but on this occasion found it was just too galling to let the only review of this literary beacon be that of someone who hasn't even read the damn book, even if that in itself spoke volumes about the prescience of the novel in predicting mass enslavement by consumption of 'easy' media - movies, TV, audio etc..... without the context of having read the book, the review is only confusing, rather than ironic.
There are better written books, there are more enjoyable books, of that there can be little doubt but when I read dystopian fiction it must be said that the importance of prose quality comes a distant second to how well the author fulfilled their main task, to thoroughly unsettle and challenge my/our existing and entrenched world views, to place us in a world whose apparently obvious unreality becomes more hazily entwined with our own experiences and world the more we consider them and finally to leave a lasting, lingering impression. Bradbury succeeds completely in these categories, as can be shown by the fact that this review is some months after having read the text and the visceral quality is still at the forefront of my mind.
If you do read it, and I think you should, yet find it unrealistic...do me one favour and google some of the book burning incidents of the 21st century. Not only is Harry Potter the most banned book of recent times, it's arguably the most burnt and whilst I'm not a Potterite, it is illuminating when you consider what would happen if the inmates ever did begin running the asylum. The denial of unapproved knowledge, and what that means to the potential for any kind of freedom, regardless of how free they claim to be. ;)
A masterpiece . . . A glorious American classic everyone should read: It s life-changing if you read it as a teen, and still stunning when you reread it as an adult. Alice Hoffman, "The Boston Globe"