• Fahrenheit 451

  • By: Ray Bradbury
  • Narrated by: Tim Robbins
  • Length: 5 hrs and 1 min
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (31,795 ratings)

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Fahrenheit 451  By  cover art

Fahrenheit 451

By: Ray Bradbury
Narrated by: Tim Robbins
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Editorial 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

Earphones Award Winner (AudioFile Magazine)

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.

Critic reviews

"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)

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What listeners say about Fahrenheit 451

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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

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A twofur: Bad writing and worse narration

Audible really needs to get over the growing tendency to get famous actors to narrate audio books. Some such as Richard Armitage do a great job, but horrid over performance like Tim Robbins with Fahrenheit 451 is far more typical. There are many outstanding narrators so why not use them.

I read Fahrenheit 451 as a teen some 60 years ago. I liked it than but it has not stood the test of time like Brave New World and 1984 have. When the book was released in 1953 it was set 46 years later in 1999. The actual world in 1999, or today, is very, very different from what Ray Bradbury imagined. Great dystopian scifi must pass the test of time.

For those interested in Fahrenheit 451 I recommend a Kindle version so you will not have to tolerate the screaming, screeching, and whispering of Tim Robbins.

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