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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.
I have known about Fahrenheit 451 for a long time, as it is mentioned on most classic lists as a must read. To be honest I had no clue what it was about. When I picked it up at the library I was surprised how short it was, just a 160 pages. I finished it a couple of days ago and I still have difficulties actually formulating how I feel about this book. I am going to try anyway.
The first thing I really struggled with was the use of language. Ray Bradbury has just a really wordy way of writing. I have the feeling that I had to dig for the essence of his words by finding out which things happened in the here and now and which sentences where just thoughts of the main character, Montag. With every page I hoped to get more clarity but at times it only got murkier and more confusing. It already started with one of the first scenes, when Montag finds his wife in their bedroom. I was so confused as to whether she was dead or alive, she could have been a robot the way Bradbury described her. Now that I have finished I am still not sure. She felt so detached from this world, which is undoubtedly how Bradbury wanted to portray her but it was confusing at times.
From the beginning it was clear that books where the main enemy of Montag’s society. Over the course of the book you get information about why books pose a threat and how books changed the function of firemen. I wanted to know more though. I had no idea how this society actually functioned. Captain Beady is the highest ranking member of Montag’s society I encountered but then nothing. No mention of the government, and why things happen. There is also a war going on, evidenced by the bombers that fly over but again I had no clue what this war was about. I feel that there is a message in this book but it felt like I got glimpses of that message rather than actually grasping it. I needed more pages to understand what was really going on.
For now I am going to settle for 2 stars because there is more to this book than I am able to get from it right now, but I know something is there. I want to read this book again in some time and see what I get from it then.