Fahrenheit 451: a tale of passion

Fahrenheit 451 is one of the most popular novels of Ray Bradbury, that ensures him a spot along George Orwell with ‘1984’ and Aldous Huxley with ‘Brave New World’ thus forming the trilogy of dystopia.

I “read” the book as an audiobook, not because I am a fan of this medium but for a good reason. The recording of the book was made with the voice of the author. Moreover, at the end of the novel, there is an 1-hour long interview with the author, where he clarifies some issues from the book that made me love his work even more. I found out about his passion for reading from an early age, his interest for old hollywoodian movies which he rewatched a dozen times and about the moment he met his wife in a bookstore.

The novel’s title refers to the temperature of burning books. This title came to the author after a conversation with a fireman in California. The initial title was The Fireman.

Fahrenheit 451 shows the reader a future where the books were prohibited. Since all the constructions were built from anti-inflammatory materials, the fireman’s duties were to find the few remaining books and set them on fire and punish the owners, In this context we find, Guy Montag, a fireman that lives an average life with his wife, their only entertainment being provided by the TV. The banal is changed when Montag meets a 17-year old Clarisse, who has too many questions, an unusual thing in the story. The character drama deepens when, being at work, assists speechless how a woman sets herself on fire along with the books. From here on, the things precipitate, we witness people hunting the protagonist and great speeches.

All in all, I liked how the author outlined the characters, the main story and the style of writing which kept the suspense till the end of the novel.

Over time, from 1953 to nowadays, the books has had many covers. Some of the most creative are below:

Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8
Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8


The next one has a match and striking paper:



The next cover seems the most creative, It’s made of asbestos, a material inflammable-free, it was ‘published’ in 1953 in a limited edition, each one of the 200 books having the author’s signature.



If this books impresses you, I suggest to give a try to his autobiographical collection of essays on writing, life and SF literature.

For some further reading you should check out a recent essay published by The Paris Review along a wonderful interview with the author published in the same magazine, in its 2010 edition.

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