BLURB: “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.”
– REVIEW: I will admit at once that I expected quite a lot from this book. Given its reputation as a literary classic, I was greatly looking forward to seeing how Bradbury pictured the possible future of our world. I understand why, in terms of the writing skill, this novel is so well renowned. Bradbury’s writing is fluid, so fast-paced that there is no other way to read it other than at your top speed. Somehow, this makes the dystopian world that Montag occupies even more terrifying; we feel as though we are running with him, desperate from escape just like he is. The metaphorical nature of Bradbury’s writing is also quite astonishing. In the introduction to this edition of the book, he describes how, when he sat down to write this novel, he had no idea what he was doing – upon reading it, it is hard to believe that anyone could have such a brilliantly natural and instinctive talent for writing as he does, and not know about it.
I do, however, have some issues with the plot itself. I do understand, as a writer, the need for leaving loose ends at the end of a novel. In this case, however, I felt that there were so many loose ends that the conclusion of the novel was simply unsatisfying. The removal of Clarisse from the story (which even Bradbury concedes was a mistake) takes away one of the most intriguing and engaging characters I have ever read of, and, at least for me, actually ruined the story. Montag’s relationship with his wife Mildred also has a highly unsatisfactory conclusion, and the cliffhanger of an ending leaves the reader feeling as though they’ve run a marathon and not even been given a bottle of water to cool down at the end of it.
I would still recommend the book to book lovers and fans of dystopian fiction, who would probably find Bradbury’s distressing portrayal of the future a fascinating and intricate read.