So this is annoying book to review because it takes me 10 mins to remember how to spell Fahrenheit…It’s another one of those books I had heard the name of many times but for some reason thought it was much more modern and about something completely different, possibly I was getting confused with Fahrenheit 9/11, the film about the destruction of the Twin Towers…
Anyway Fahrenheit 451, is about a fireman, Guy Montag, who burns books. That’s his job, that’s what fireman do now. Books are dangerous, they contain thoughts and ideas that conflict, and sow seeds to dissent and disasstisfaction. At the start of the book Montag seems satisfied with his life but a meeting with his young, unconventional, new neighbour shakes things up.
Then she seemed to remember something and came back to look at him with wonder and curiosity.
‘Are you happy?’ she said.
‘Am I what? he cried.But she was gone- ruuning in the moonlight. Her front door shut gently.
He begins to question everything he once took for granted, but it becomes clear that no one is really that happy in this world. His wife relies on sleeping pills and is anaethesticed by meaningless TV stories. Elsewhere people are killing themselves or other people, and there is a constant threat of war. Much of this reminded be of a Philip K Dick story* where technological advances of wonder and convenience merely serve to isolate people from each other.
At times found the language a bit flowery, especially at the start where Bradbury seems to use a lot of analogies to the point where I didn’t really know what he was actually talking about.
As he stood there the sky over the house screamed. There was a tremendous ripping sound as if two giant hands torn ten thousand miles of black linen down the seam.
And theres a lot of dialogue towards the end when people make gradioise speeches about society, and memorising bits of the bible. Considering books have been illegal for so long that most people can’t remember ever a time when they weren’t, certain characters seem quite confortable quoting Shakepeare or bible. There seems to be an understanding that it’s either Shakespeare or the bible, other authors like Milton, Whitman, and Faulkner are mentioned but clearly we’re only fighting for the classics here. So perhaps even in the book revolution there are some books that would not make the cut.
I liked the central idea of the book, but to a certain extent I don’t think it was really explored to it’s fullest. I would have liked a bit more exposition I suppose, a bit more on what this world was really like before Montag starts to reject it. But it was an interesting read, and I whizzed through it in two days so I must have been enjoying it to a certain extent!
*author of Total Recall, and Do Andriods Dream of Electric Sheep, the book that became Blade Runner.