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Saturday, 2 February 2019

Book Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

In a dystopian world set in the future, where criminals take over the dark, Alex is a juvenile delinquent who talks using an invented slang called Nadsat.


”What’s it going to be then, eh?”

A Clockwork Orange might just the biggest turnaround I’ve ever had in terms of initially hating a book... and then becoming a fan of it by the end. After buying a copy and flicking through it, and seeing some of the writing, I messaged @ab_reads to say “why the hell am I putting myself through this? I should have picked another book for my list” and even as I trudged through the first 30 pages or so I just wanted it to be over... but I’m glad to say that once I got a hold of the slang I found a really outstanding story!

The events and acts of brutality carried out by Alex and his friends are surprisingly violent, but this is masked by the initial confusion surrounding the Nadsat and trying to decipher what is actually happening. A rather interesting technique employed by Burgess that I really appreciated!

After reading I found out that originally the book was released without the final chapter (Chapter 21) in order to give the book a darker tone and a less hopeful ending. However, Kubrick insisted that the chapter be added in as he had intended - and I believe this final part is also excluded from the movie - but I’m not entirely sure which ending I prefer. It’s something I’ll ponder for a while!

I absolutely loved the central themes of choice and free will. Is it better to be conditioned to be good, or is it better to choose to be bad? The story is well-constructed in terms of its structure and I love how everything kind of comes full circle. Really fascinating story-telling.

It’s difficult to recommend, but if you are intrigued do push past the first 30-40 pages because it WILL get easier and the pay-off is worth it. A Clockwork Orange is one of those books that would really benefit from a reread once you’ve nailed the language. Perhaps one day in the future!

3.5 stars.

Johann
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1 comment :

  1. I tried a clockwork orange once....it took some time to digest

    ReplyDelete

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