Monday, 1 October 2012

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Review by The Mole

Montag is a fireman but at a time when firemen burn books because to read books is illegal. However after meeting Clarisse, a neighbour, he starts to have second thoughts. But it's 'thoughts' that the law is trying to stop... Montag starts to feel strange and wonder if his world is collapsing around him.

This edition comes with two introductions:- Michael Moorcock in 2011 and Ray Bradbury in 2003 on it's 50th anniversary. Both introductions are interesting. Moorcock quotes from the second version of the play (yes, there's been two plays, one film and an opera too!) and says "Why bother to ban books when people voluntarily ignore them." and sadly this is more than true. Yet the book still works - why? what is it really about? Well these questions are answered by Bradbury in his introduction says that "When the first version of the novel was finished, I hardly knew what I had done. I knew that it was crammed with metaphors, but the word metaphor had not occurred to me at that time in my life." It was only when he was older and wiser that he understood what he had done.

I first read the book over forty years ago, as a pup, and my recollection of it was very much tainted with the years. The version I read then, I 'let go' somewhere along the years and so this copy from The Folio Society was most welcome. My first impression on rereading it was that it was a futuristic science fiction novel. Now for a 59 year old story to still feel that way is a mark of a well written and classic book. Truth is, of course, that today books are a small part of the dissemination of knowledge, and I use the internet for a lot of learning, but it's not something that occurred to me during the reading. Perhaps I am used to metaphors and saw it only as a metaphor but it really didn't affect my reading.

This particular version is boxed with a most attractive cover and several full page illustrations by Sam Weber and will now have a permanent home on my bookshelf.

The Folio Society don't sell through normal retail outlets so it's best to start at their website.

Publisher - The Folio Society
Genre - Science Fiction

Buy Fahrenheit 451 from The Folio Society

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