Sixty years after its original publication, Ray Bradbury's internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 stands as a classic of world literature set in a bleak, dystopian future. Today its message has grown more relevant than ever before.
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. This sixtieth-anniversary edition commemorates Ray Bradbury's masterpiece with a new introduction by Neil Gaiman; personal essays on the genesis of the novel by the author; a wealth of critical essays and reviews by Nelson Algren. Harold Bloom, Margaret Atwood, and others: rare manuscript pages and sketches from "Ray Bradbury's personal archive and much more. Here, at last, is the definitive edition of a classic of world literature. (front flap)
Reviews with the most likes.
There were many parts of this book that I found problematic (the absurdly flat, semi-misogynistically-written female characters; the incoherent critique of television) but could have chalked up to interesting ambiguities until I read the Afterword and Coda by the author, who turns out to have written this polemic/parable as an ill-considered response to criticism (you know, censorship by women's-libbers and homosexuals) and new media.
Otherwise, Bradbury is clearly a virtuosic writer in a showoffy way, but the story pacing and structure is pretty strained. Although Captain Beatty is a pretty terrifically villainous bad guy.