Saturday, November 3, 2012

Rosy's scrawled book recommendation: Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury

Guy Montag is a fireman. His job is to burn books, which are forbidden, being the source of all discord and unhappiness. Even so, Montag is unhappy; there is discord in his marriage. Are books hidden in his house? The Mechanical Hound of the Fire Department, armed with a lethal hypodermic, escorted by helicopters, is ready to track down those dissidents who defy society to preserve and read books. The classic novel of a post-literate future, 'Fahrenheit 451' stands alongside Orwell's '1984' and Huxley's 'Brave New World' as a prophetic account of Western civilization's enslavement by the media, drugs and conformity. Bradbury's powerful and poetic prose combines with uncanny insight into the potential of technology to create a novel which over fifty years from first publication, still has the power to dazzle and shock.



Rosy's scrawlings on Fahrenheit 451
This book will surprise you, if you haven't read it before. There is the bleak outlook to life without books that you'd expect and there are even some good representations of human behaviour without knowledge and education using modern day equipment. There's no going back all the way to the Stone Age but there is a roll of destruction that sets humanity back a fair way. All this you will come to expect just from reading a blurb or two or hearing someone speak about it. And I'm sure that if you haven't read this one but have run across other dystopian fiction, you'll wonder why you should read this one in particular. The answer to that is exactly the same as to what is surprising about this book.
The answer is this: for all the doom and gloom, for all the destruction and angst, there is beauty, colour and poetry to be found in Fahrenheit 451. This isn't your average dystopian piece as there's hope and discovery lying at its foundations. The Phoenix that is humanity lives in all of the characters even if it is only discovered and realised by some. The style of Fahrenheit 451 is like poetry of the immediate. There's a heightening of colour, sensation and instant impression while thoughtful analysis, understanding and the long view are almost completely wiped away. At first this style may shock you as it seems incongruous to the story but you soon see it's purpose.
The character of Montag is also intriguing. He's half formed at best and almost incapable of realising himself. He's one you almost feel like you could converse with at times but most of the time feel like you'd have to hire a translator in order to understand and be understood. The reduction of his comprehension skills though, only serves to make the bouts of poetic description that represent his thoughts more powerful.
In Fahrenheit 451 you'll find an addictive mix of critical thinking, poetic descriptions, violence of a wide scale as well as a horrific view of society that's tempered by a certain amount of hope and faith in humanity. There's a little something for everyone, particularly if you like literature, horror, dark fantasy and action. The only thing truly missing is a love, any sort of love, that is fulfilled but when knowledge and self-awareness are devalued how can you recognise it or act on it properly? Best of all though, this book is fun to read and shouldn't be turned from because it is too hard or put on a school reading list at times. You won't be bored unless you close your mind to it before you even begin reading.

I'd recommend this book to: those who are avid readers, fans of the book 1984 by Orwell, those who enjoy critical thinking and social analysis. I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone over the age of ten (never too early, just like it is never too early to pick up Poe's works).

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