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Audible Editor Reviews

Editors Select, October 2014 - I credit Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451 as one of the books that sparked my love of reading, and now that I'm an avid listener, I'm excited to be able to experience the story anew with Academy Award-winner Tim Robbins ( The Shawshank Redemption) narrating. Robbins' tone expertly mirrors the story's narrative – shifting effortlessly from somber and contemplative to suspenseful and terrifying. Each character, from the rebellious protagonist Guy Montag, to the enigmatic Clarisse McClellan, to the gruff Captain Beatty is distinct and realistic, making this frightening future seem all the more possible. Whether you enjoyed the book in a high school English class or never quite got around to it, every book lover should experience this poignant version of a dystopian classic. —Sam, Audible Editor

Publisher's Summary

Ray Bradbury's internationally acclaimed novel Fahrenheit 451 is a masterwork of 20th-century literature set in a bleak, dystopian future, narrated here by Academy Award-winning actor Tim Robbins.

Guy Montag is a fireman. In his world, where television rules and literature is on the brink of extinction, firemen start fires rather than put them out. His job is to destroy the most illegal of commodities, the printed book, along with the houses in which they are hidden. Montag never questions the destruction and ruin his actions produce, returning each day to his bland life and wife, Mildred, who spends all day with her television "family". But then he meets an eccentric young neighbor, Clarisse, who introduces him to a past where people didn’t live in fear and to a present where one sees the world through the ideas in books instead of the mindless chatter of television. When Mildred attempts suicide and Clarisse suddenly disappears, Montag begins to question everything he has ever known. He starts hiding books in his home, and when his pilfering is discovered, the fireman has to run for his life.

©1951 Ray Bradbury (P)2014 Audible Inc.

What the critics say

"Bradbury's iconic novel about the dangers of complacency and the value of curiosity gains a solid new voice with this audio performance. Tim Robbins puts his acting prowess to use here, creating superb dialogue and striding confidently through powerful speeches that celebrate books and warn against the lure of technology. Protagonist Montag burns with all the earnestness of a man eager for change; Faber's aged scholar simmers with cautious hope; Mildred's vacuous presence echoes emptily. Robbins provides the theatrical with the expected confidence, but he also makes good use of quiet in this production. He makes Bradbury's words even more powerful by remembering to pause at opportune moments to let them sink in." ( AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Tee
  • 2018-06-13

A dystopian tale relevant today

A story about a dystopian society in which books are banned and firemen burn books. I didn’t realise it when I was listening to it, but Ray Bradbury had published this story in 1953! His insight into the future is amazing and all the more relevant today - over 60 years later.

For me, two things stand out in this story: Capt Beatty’s reflections (in the first part) about the history of how their society came to reject books, and the mindless contents on the Wall Panels (Mildred’s “Family”). Today, on the one hand, we are observing the shortening attention span of the society, and on the other hand, people are hooked on mindless social or entertainment media. Online videos including instructional ones are tightly edited to several minutes (eg on YouTube); news / documentaries are summarized to a few crisp lines and soundbites or made entertaining; we shut down if a speech is long so TED Talks are ~15 min and need to be “fun”. Meanwhile we get perpetually stuck on all kinds of modern gadgets - social media, computer games, entertainment etc. Is the future of our society already heading towards that described in this story...?

After the initial burst, the pace of the story slows. This brings about a reflective mood, but could be difficult to go through.

Tim Robbins is a superb reader. He captured the mood and texture of the story. For example you can feel the denseness of the dialogues between Guy Montag and Mildred, and the dreariness of existence. Most spellbinding was his reading of Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach”, which struck a chord deep in me. If only I had a literature teacher back in school who read like this, I could have grown up loving poetry!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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absolute masterpiece

I loved the performance and story I had me captivated from start to finish. h

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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No Books!

Great book, very similar feel of other Dystopian type books which makes it very enjoyable to read. Worth the time and $.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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invigorating

picked up the book and put it down right after, downloaded audible so I can follow along with the voice artist instead and found I was more engaged in the novel, less distracted - more interested, etc.

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Way shorter then expected

it is a classic that I never drove into before. glad I did now, but am disappointed it was so short. even more disappointed that there hasn't been a major motion picture of the novel. easy to make that a fantastic movie for sure

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classic excellence

pleasure to listen to an old classic foretell the future; and Tim did a great job with the material, was a good fit

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Way too relevant

This book legitimately scared me on how relevant it is. It's definitely a must read

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I can’t believe it took me so long

It’s one of those books I’ve been meaning to get to for decades. #Audible1 made it easy for me to finally get around to it. It was interesting listening to this story from a 2018 vantage point.

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A classic -- and a must read

This is one of the best, if not the best, science fiction novels of all time. It is compelling and exciting to read, and to re-read. I've read it in print, and now as an audiobook. I'm certain to read it again in the future. Much of modern society is predicted, both technologicallly and socially. Parts of it are close to poetry. I highly recommend it. #Audible1

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Not as good as I was hoping but I can see why it is a classic

#audible1
Not sure if the story just doesn’t hold up as well with time or I’m just not cultured enough but I found the story a bit bland. Perhaps had I read it in school and analyzed all its nuances I would have appreciated it more. Tim Robbins is okay as a narrator and can do some good character voices but he has a bit of mumbliness to him (sorry Tim).

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  • W Perry Hall
  • 2014-10-22

I'm Burnin', I'm Burnin' for You

When I see a new release on audio of a classic book read by a great actor or actress, I'm in. Sometimes it doesn't work. Here, Tim Robbins' rhapsody perfectly pitches this futuro de fuego novel that for most of us was required reading in school. The boy I was surely did not appreciate Ray Bradbury's talent for telling fantastic stories or his prose or the value and experience of *Fahrenheit 451.*

This book, with Tim Robbin's narration, lit up my literary fervor with a tale of how life would be without books, and has ignited my interest in Ray Bradbury's other books.

More valuable than the credit spent, this enthralling audiobook is a reminder of the value of literature and, more than that, an infernal blast!

82 of 93 people found this review helpful

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  • Darwin8u
  • Mesa, AZ, United States
  • 2017-07-04

Don't ask for guarantees

“Don't ask for guarantees. And don't look to be saved in any one thing, person, machine, or library. Do your own bit of saving, and if you drown, at least die knowing you were heading for shore.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I read this in Jr. High. What a waste. I wasn't ready for Bradbury. I mean I liked Bradbury. I read a bunch of his short story collections and even dabbled with his books. But I failed at that young age to appreciate Bradbury's language. I was reading for plot. I missed the words, the texture, the depth of his words. There is a reason this is a classic and will continue to be a classic. It is damn good. It is important. It is still relevant and still sucks the wind right out of me. Save 100 books from my burning house. This might not be one of the hundred, but only because it is burned into my brain and I won't ever forget it.

45 of 51 people found this review helpful

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  • Joel
  • NEWPORT BEACH, CA, United States
  • 2017-03-27

Wish I Hadn't Cliff Noted This in High School

I'm ashamed to say that during High School I made the grave mistake of using cliff notes to get through reading Fahrenheit 451. I did that for most books in High School and College and am just now going back and reading the for the first time. Like Orwell's 1984, Fahrenheit 451 is as relevant if not even more so in today's culture.

The first thing that struck me about Fahrenheit 451 is that it's actually a pretty straightforward and easy ready. Unlike many books that are "assigned reading" Fahrenheit 451 has a straightforward premise. It's set in a world where firefighters instead of putting out fires, start fires by burning books, and anyone associated with them.

What rang true most of all was towards the middle of the novel there's a scene in which the main character, Guy Montag is interacting with his wife and her two friends. It's a scene in which he reads a couple verses of poetry and the reactions of each of the characters was so distinct and so different that it took me off guard. The way in which Bradbury is able to convey the dichotomy between wanting to be happy and avoiding reality is something I wrestle with. Do I ignore the injustice in the world for my own happiness or do I fully embrace the fact that there are horrors taking place all around me?

And that's what I loved most of all about Fahrenheit 451, it made me contemplate my own life. I didn't find the story to be overly satisfying, especially the ending, but the questions it raises are profound. And its because of that, that I'm disappointed I hadn't read it earlier and urge anyone who likes my cliff noted my way through it to go back and enjoy this marvelous novel.

16 of 18 people found this review helpful

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  • Katy
  • United States
  • 2018-01-24

A Parable For Our Times

This book is a must-read for our times. The characters imprison themselves willingly in feel-good entertainment bubbles and resent and destroy anything that challenges them to stretch beyond their comfort zone. My favorite quote was, roughly, that we expect flowers to grow on flowers instead of good soil and rain... This book is good soil and rain for a curious stretching mind.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Sarah Nelson
  • Phoenix, AZ
  • 2015-02-06

Can Tim Robbins read me all of my books?

I never read Fahrenheit 451 in school like most people, so this was my first time. The story was tragic, inspiring, and thought-provoking. And in a way, terrifying, like most dystopian future novels tend to be when we notice the similarities to present day society.

Tim Robbins was amazing. He shouts when he needs to, he gets excited, he gets flustered and embarrassed. So far Robbins has been the best to listen to.

47 of 57 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • L. Leblanc
  • Louisiana
  • 2018-05-02

Classic, but…

I honestly was not please with the story. I like the message, just not the delivery. I don’t believe it was just the use of the sublime that I didn’t like, but his actual writing style. The narrator did a decent job, I enjoy when narrators try different voices for different characters. My only criticism for the narator is that some of the voices were too aggravating (that might have been the point though).

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Jim "The Impatient"
  • 2015-06-25

IF SOMEONE GIVES YOU RULED PAPER,

WRITE THE OTHER WAY.
I have lost count of how many times I have read or listen to this book. This time was the most pleasant and I felt I got the most out of it. Robbins is my kind of narrator. Some might think him too dramatic, but I appreciated the feeling he put into the reading. The book is divided into three parts, with the first part being the best.

THE MIND DRINKS LESS AND LESS
For a book written in the 40's it is amazing all the things Bradbury predicted. He predicted the death of newspapers, he predicted sitcoms, the word intellectual becoming a swear word, ear buds and people listening to something all day, Reality TV, and schools becoming more about sports then about academics. He also predicted that lots of people would be more likely to vote for the most handsome candidate, but that may have already been in practice during the 40's I don't know. He goes on about how we will need to be entertained at all times. This made me laugh, as just the other day I put coffee in the microwave, set it for 35 seconds and then worried about how I was going to fill the next 35 seconds. Some of these may be controversial, but in my mind he hit the nail on the head.

YOU THINK TOO MUCH
Part two was really good and part three was good. I thought in part three he got too poetic and dramatic, but Bradbury has been known to do that from time to time. His worries about over population did not happen and we did not have a bunch of nuclear wars. Books have not disappeared, they have gotten bigger, RE: Sanderson, Gabaldon, Hobbs and George RR.

SEA SHELL RADIO
Tim Robbins was great. When audible first came out with actors as narrators, I was not for it. I felt I was being disloyal to my favorite narrators, such as Dick Hill, Ray Porter, and Will Patton (who is an actor). So far, I have heard Robbins and Hathaway and both were great and made the books they read a pleasurable experience. I guess they aren't just pretty faces.

44 of 55 people found this review helpful

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  • DBick
  • Florida
  • 2016-09-07

Book changed my life!!

Fahrenheit 451
Ray Bradbury
Location:?

Have you ever read one of those books that while you're reading it, you know it's changing your life and the way you see things?.... This book blew my mind. The simple fact it was written in 1951 and it was so spot on with so many details that are going on right now in our society. Thank God we still have books though :-) but a lot of the other things are going on right now. This was a phenomenal book. I am not the same person. I'm going to read another book by Bradbury called "Dandelion wine" I really like this author and I can definitely see his influence on Stephen King.. If you haven't read it I recommend doing so as soon as possible :-) my only complaint and it's a small one I did not love the narrator. Sometimes the voices were killing me. Mildred the wife sounded like Jocelyn from Bob's burgers. But it was fine and I could deal with it because the story was phenomenal

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Rick R.
  • Santa Monica, CA, US
  • 2014-11-11

More reality than science fiction, 60 years later

Would you consider the audio edition of Fahrenheit 451 to be better than the print version?

Yes - It renews the current nature of this classic.
This was an amazing experience - Couldn't stop listening

Who was your favorite character and why?

No question - Guy Montag is solid with sensitivity and depth. Clarisse gives the story direction that further rounds out Guy as the lead.

Have you listened to any of Tim Robbins’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Tim Robbin's performance was terrific - beyond any of my expectations! It made this an instant classic all over again. I have not heard any of his others but now he, as a narrator, has my attention.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was riveted unlike anything I expected. As my headline states, How is it possible for a book from the early 50's to be so on target with where we are today? When originally read, it leaned science fiction. Now, it's far more the reality of our current technological times.

Any additional comments?

Brilliant. A Must Listen!

13 of 17 people found this review helpful

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  • Cynthia
  • Monrovia, California, United States
  • 2015-01-18

What Dandelions Mean

I hesitated buying Audible Studio's Ray Bradbury's "Fahrenheit 451" (1953) because it seemed almost sacrilegious. But I've got three print versions and my kids have an electronic text version. Bradbury - who died in 2012 - had to have licensed at least the first Audible version, and his estate must have authorized this version. If the author said "okay," why shouldn't I listen? As busy as I am, I won't have time to read the text version again until I retire. And, well, Tim Robbins is the narrator.

It's impossible to write a review of "Fahrenheit 451" that hasn't already been written by Cliff Notes, Spark Notes, or some high schooler robbed of the magic of discovering Bradbury independently and forced to read the book. I just hope that the fact it's required reading doesn't obscure Bradbury's absolutely brilliant science fiction storytelling. ATMs? Earbuds? Flat screen TVs? They're all there - more than 60 years ago. But it's more than SciFi to me - it's horror.

Fear is very, very personal - I understand scary spiders, but snakes? Sure, boa constrictors can be a little intimidating, but California King Snakes are just about the cutest things to slither the ground. I've heard not everyone feels that way. For me, "Fahrenheit 451" is one of the most horrifying stories ever. I watched Francois Truffaut's 1966 movie version when I was 11, several years before I read the book. That night was the first time I woke up screaming from a nightmare. The books - burning the books. It was as if my friends were being burned alive.

The reason I keep personalizing the book and the review is that Bradbury's writing is Art, with a capital 'A.' Like all true art, it means different things to different people at different times. As a teenager, I don't think I realized it was dystopian - and I sure missed Fireman Guy Montag's feelings for his wife, Mildred. I got the overt symbolism, but only because a 9th or 10th grade teacher whose name I've forgotten made me learn it for a test.

Unfortunately, I wasn't impressed by Robbins as a narrator for this book. He's a fine Guy Montag, but as Mildred Montag and Clarisse McClellam? Ow. Mildred was biting and shrill, which is appropriate for her character - but it still hurt my ears. Robbins' Clarisse came across as vapid, and that wasn't good for a profound character.

For those of you playing 6 Degrees of Stephen King, this Audible performance is 1 degree. Robbins played Andy Dufrense in Frank Darrabont's 1994 film "The Shawshank Redemption." That was based on King's 1983 novella, "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption," published in the "Different Seasons" collection. Here's a less commonly known connection: King is a huge Bradbury fan, and "Fahrenheit 451" uses the term 'The Running Man' several times. King wrote an okay novella called "The Running Man" (1982) under the pseudonym Richard Bachman. which was made into a better - or maybe just funnier - 1987 movie of the same name starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Bradbury's influence on King is far beyond just that subtle tribute. For example, his 2014 "Revival" revives the Bradbury's traveling carnival from "Something Wicked This Way Comes."

The title of this review comes from dandelions Clarisse picked for Montag.

[If this review helped, please press YES. Thanks!]

61 of 87 people found this review helpful

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  • toolized
  • 2017-07-30

very talented reader, great writing

Now I understand why this book was taught in school. Such a great writing, and perfectly read with many tones and changes in speed or mood.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
  • CÉLINE A.
  • 2018-10-04

inutile

ce livre est en anglais! il nous est donc d aucune utilité ! 😠 pourquoi n y a t il pas de version française vu que nous sommes en France???

2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Bertrand Leroy
  • 2017-08-23

Décu

je profite de l'offre d'essai et je me rend compte une fois le livre telechargé qu'il est en anglais !!
super d'ecouter un anglais quand on est francais...

2 of 12 people found this review helpful