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A Clockwork Orange

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A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about g A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. And when the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."


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A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about g A vicious fifteen-year-old droog is the central character of this 1963 classic. In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where the criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders his and his friends' social pathology. A Clockwork Orange is a frightening fable about good and evil, and the meaning of human freedom. And when the state undertakes to reform Alex to "redeem" him, the novel asks, "At what cost?" This edition includes the controversial last chapter not published in the first edition and Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked."

30 review for A Clockwork Orange

  1. 5 out of 5

    Martine

    A Clockwork Orange is one of those books which everyone has heard of but which few people have actually read –- mostly, I think, because it is preceded by a reputation of shocking ultra-violence. I’m not going to deny here that the book contains violence. It features lengthy descriptions of heinous crimes, and they’re vivid descriptions, full of excitement. (Burgess later wrote in his autobiography: ‘I was sickened by my own excitement at setting it down.’) Yet it does not glorify violence, nor A Clockwork Orange is one of those books which everyone has heard of but which few people have actually read –- mostly, I think, because it is preceded by a reputation of shocking ultra-violence. I’m not going to deny here that the book contains violence. It features lengthy descriptions of heinous crimes, and they’re vivid descriptions, full of excitement. (Burgess later wrote in his autobiography: ‘I was sickened by my own excitement at setting it down.’) Yet it does not glorify violence, nor is it a book about violence per se. Rather it’s an exploration of the morality of free will. Of whether it is better to choose to be bad than to be conditioned to be good. Of alienation and how to deal with the excesses to which such alienation may lead. And ultimately, of one man’s decision to say goodbye to all that. (At least in the UK version. The American version, on which Stanley Kubrick’s film adaptation was based, ends on a less optimistic note.) In short, it’s a novella of ideas which just happens to contain a fair bit of violence. It is also quite an artistic and linguistic achievement. Those who have seen the film will know that Alex (the anti-hero) and his droogs (friends) speak a made-up language full of Russian loanwords, Shakespearean and Biblical influences and Cockney rhyming slang. Initially this nadsat language was nearly incomprehensible to me, and my first response to it was bad. I found myself cursing Burgess, telling him that it wasn’t fair to put his readers through something like that. (If I want to read an incomprehensible book, I’ll read Finnegans Wake, thank you very much.) However, Burgess takes great care to introduce his new words in an understandable way, so after a few pages I got the hang of the nadsat lingo, and after a few more pages I actually began to enjoy it, because I’m enough of a linguist to go in for that sort of thing. I found myself loving the Russian loanwords, rejoicing when I recognised a German loanword among them and enjoying the Shakespearean quality of Alex’ dialogues. I finished the book with an urgent wish to learn Russian and read more Shakespeare. I doubt many readers will respond to the book in that way (not everyone shares my enthusiasm for languages and classical stuff), but my point is: you’ll get used to the lingo, and at some point you’ll begin to admire it, because for one thing, Burgess is awfully consistent about it, and for another, it just sounds so damned good. I mean, if you’re going to come up with a new word for ‘crazy’, you might as well choose bezoomny, right? Because it actually sounds mad. Doesn’t it? Anyhow, there’s more to A Clockwork Orange than just philosophical ideas and linguistic pyrotechnics. The writing itself is unexpectedly lyrical, and not just when it deals with violence. Some of the most beautiful passages in the book deal with music. More specifically, classical music, because for all his wicked ways, Alex has a passion for classical music. He particularly adores Beethoven, an adoration I happen to share. I came away from the book thinking I might consent to becoming Alex’ devotchka (woman, wife) simply because he is capable of getting carried away by Beethoven’s Ninth and hates having it spoilt for him. He’s cultured, is Alex, and while his culturedness obviously does not equal civilisation and goodness (a point he himself is quick to make), it does put him a notch above the average hooligan. It’s the apparent dichotomy between Alex’ tastes in art and his taste for violence which makes him such an interesting protagonist and which keeps you following his exploits to their not entirely believable (but good) conclusion. In short, then, A Clockwork Orange is an excellent book –- a bit challenging at first, but gripping and interesting and full of style and ideas. Not many books can claim as much.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Cecily

    How to review an infamous book about which so much has already been said? By avoiding reading others’ thoughts until I’ve written mine. There are horrors in this book, but there is beauty too, and so much to think about. The ends of the book justify the means of its execution, even if the same is not true of what happens in the story. Book vs Film, and Omission of Final Chapter I saw the film first, and read the book shortly afterwards. Usually a bad idea, but in this case, being familiar with the How to review an infamous book about which so much has already been said? By avoiding reading others’ thoughts until I’ve written mine. There are horrors in this book, but there is beauty too, and so much to think about. The ends of the book justify the means of its execution, even if the same is not true of what happens in the story. Book vs Film, and Omission of Final Chapter I saw the film first, and read the book shortly afterwards. Usually a bad idea, but in this case, being familiar with the plot and the Nadsat slang made it easier to relax (if that's an appropriate word, given some of the horrors to come) into the book. The film is less hypnotic and far more shocking than the book, because it is more visual and because, like the US version of the book, it omits the more optimistic final chapter. The British censors originally passed the film - uncut. But a year later, it was cited as possibly inspiring a couple of murders, leading to threats against Kubrick's family. The year after that, Kubrick asked for it to be withdrawn, and it was, even though he said "To try and fasten any responsibility on art as the cause of life seems to me to put the case the wrong way around." See Withdrawl of film from UK screens and Omission of final chapter Plot and Structure It is a short novel, comprising three sections of seven chapters, told by “your humble narrator”, Alex. In the first section, Alex and his teenage gang indulge in “ultra-violence” (including sexual assault of young girls); in the middle section, Alex is in prison and then undergoes a horrific new treatment (a sort of aversion therapy); the final section follows him back in the real world, rejected by his parents, now the puppet of opposing political factions. The whole thing is set in a slightly dystopian, very near future and explores issues of original sin, punishment and revenge, free will, and the nature of evil. One awful incident involves breaking in to a writer’s house and gang raping his wife, who later dies. A similar incident happened to Burgess’ first wife (though he wasn’t there at the time). Writing a fictionalised account from the point of view of the perpetrator is extraordinary: charitable, cathartic, or a more complex mixture? Themes Why is Alex as he is? “What I do I do because I like to do”, and perhaps there is no more that can be said. As Alex ponders, “this biting of their toe-nails over what is the CAUSE of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don’t go into the cause of GOODNESS… badness is of the self… and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty”. Can people like Alex be cured, and if so, how? Imprisonment, police brutality, fire and brimstone don’t work. Enter the Ludovico Technique, whereby Alex is injected with emetics before being strapped, with his eyelids held open, to watch videos of extreme physical and sexual violence. He becomes conditioned to be unable to commit such acts, or even to watch or think about them. This raises more questions than it solves. The prison governor prefers the old “eye for an eye”, but has to give in to the new idea of making bad people good. “The question is whether such a technique can really make a man good. Goodness comes from within… Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” The chaplain has doubts, too, “Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?” On the other hand, by consenting to the treatment, Alex is, in an indirect way, choosing to be good. The technique (or torture) is promoted as making Alex “sane” and “healthy” so that he can be “a free man”, but although he is released from prison, he remains imprisoned by the power of the technique, even to the extent that the music he loves now makes him sick (because it was playing in the background) and his inability to defend himself means he becomes a victim. Do the ends justify the means? Dr Brodsky thinks so: “We are not concerned with motive, with the higher ethics. We are only concerned with cutting down crime.” However, if it wears off, it will all have been for nothing. Redemption? The possibility of redemption is a common thread, reaching its peak in this final chapter. Burgess was raised as a Catholic, educated in Catholic schools, but lost his faith aged sixteen. He continued to have profound interest in religious ideas, though, as explained here. The final chapter (omitted from US editions of the book until 1986, and also the film) feels incongruously optimistic in some ways, but by suggesting the true answer as to what will cure delinquency is… maturity, it might be thought the most pessimistic chapter. Is teen violence an inevitable cycle: something people grow into, and then out of when they start to see their place in the bigger picture? And if so, is that acceptable to society? Language - Nadsat Slang A distinctive feature of the book is the Nadsat slang that Alex and his droogs use (“nadsat” is the Russian suffix for “teen” – see here). Burgess invented it from Russian with a bit of Cockney rhyming slang and Malay, because real teen slang is so ephemeral, the book would quickly seem dated otherwise. He wanted the book published without a glossary, and it is written so carefully, that the meaning is usually clear, and becomes progressively so, as you become accustomed to it: “a bottle of beer frothing its gulliver off and a horrorshow rookerful of like plum cake” and “There’s only one veshch I require… having my malenky bit of fun with real droogs”. Where an English word is used literally and metaphorically, the Nadsat one is too; for example, “viddy” is used to see with one’s eyes and to understand someone’s point. The skill of carefully used context makes Russian-based Nadsat much easier to follow than the dialect of Riddley Walker (see my review HERE), even though the latter is based on mishearings of English. (To be fair, the whole of Riddley Walker is written in dialect, whereas in Clockwork Orange, it's conventional English with a generous smattering of slang.) Where the meaning isn't immediately obvious or is merely vague, you go with the flow until it seeps into your consciousness (much as would happen if you were dropped into an environment where you had no language in common with anyone else). It's another way of sucking the reader into Alex's world and his gang. Nadsat lends a mesmerising and poetic aspect to the text that is in sharp contrast to the revulsion invoked by some of the things Alex does: tolchocking a starry veck doesn’t sound nearly as bad as beating an old man into a pulp - Nadsat acts as a protective veil. In the film, this effect is somewhat diluted because you SEE these acts. The book was like published in 1962 and Alex frequently uses “like” as an interjection as I did earlier in this sentence – something that has become quite a common feature of youth speak in recent times. What happened in between, I wonder? Other than that, much of what Alex says has echoes of Shakespeare and the King James Bible: “Come, gloopy bastard thou art. Think thou not on them” and “If fear thou hast in thy heart, o brother, pray banish it forthwith” and “Fear not. He canst taketh care of himself, verily”. There is always the painful contrast of beautiful language describing unpleasant and horrific things. Similarly, the repetition of a few phrases is almost liturgical. Alex addresses his readers as “oh my brothers”, which is unsettling: if I’m one of his brothers, am I in some way complicit, or at least condoning, what he does? Another recurring phrase is, “What’s it going to be then, eh?” It is the opening phrase of each section and used several times in the first chapter of each section. Music Burgess was a composer, as well as a writer, and Alex has a passion for classical music, especially “Ludwig van”. This may be partly a ploy to make the book more ageless than if he loved, for example, Buddy Holly, but more importantly, it’s another way of creating dissonance: a deep appreciation of great art is not “supposed” to coexist with mindless delinquency. Alex has lots of small speakers around his room, so “I was like netted and meshed in the orchestra”, and the music is his deepest joy: “Oh bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling… sloshing the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh.” The treatment destroys this pleasure- with dramatic results. Horror and Beauty, Sympathy for a Villain Ultimately, I think Alex is sympathetic villain: he has a seductive exuberance and charm and although he does horrific things, when awful things are done to him, sympathy flows. Yes, there are horrors in this book, but there is beauty too, and so much to think about. The ends of the book justify the means of its execution, even if the same is not true of what happens in the story. Brilliant. Jabberwock in Nadsat Thanks to Forrest for finding this brilliant hybrid: https://medium.com/@johnlewislo…/the-...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Paul Bryant

    In 1960 Anthony Burgess was 43 and had written 4 novels and had a proper job teaching in the British Colonial Service in Malaya and Brunei. Then he had a collapse and the story gets complicated. But I like the first cool version AB told, which was that he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given a year to live. Since as you know he lived a further 33 years, we may conclude the doctors were not entirely correct. However - the doctor tells you you have a year to live - what do you d In 1960 Anthony Burgess was 43 and had written 4 novels and had a proper job teaching in the British Colonial Service in Malaya and Brunei. Then he had a collapse and the story gets complicated. But I like the first cool version AB told, which was that he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given a year to live. Since as you know he lived a further 33 years, we may conclude the doctors were not entirely correct. However - the doctor tells you you have a year to live - what do you do?* Lapse into a major depression? Get drunk and stay drunk? Buy a Harley davidson? Not if you were Anthony Burgess. Uxorious regard for his wife's future security bade him to place his arse on a chair in the unpleasing English seaside town of Hove and type out five and a half novels in the one year left to him, which, he later pointed out, was approximately equivalent to E M Forster's entire lifetime output. And the last of these five completed novels was A Clockwork Orange. No mean feat. So, this little novel should be on everyone who hasn't read it's must read list. It's a real hoot, and it's absolutely eerie in its predictions about youth culture and recreational drug use. It's also very famous for its hilarious language, all those malenky droogs, horrorshow devotchkas and gullivers and lashings of the old in-out in-out - the reader must be warned that it's very catching and you will for sure begin boring all your friends and family about tolchocking the millicents and creeching on your platties and suchlike. They'll give you frosty looks and begin avoiding you at the breakfast table, but you won't be able to help it. In extreme cases they might smeck your grazhny yarbles and that will definately shut you up. * Reminds me of the old joke where the doctor says to the guy "I'm sorry to say you only have three minutes to live." Guy says "Isn't there anything you can do for me?" Doctor says "I could boil you an egg."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sean Barrs the Bookdragon

    Rebellion can take on many forms and in A Clockwork Orange it takes on the form of language: the spoken word. All societies have their constraints, though breaking through them is often difficult. What the “poor” disaffected youth do here is create their own system of communication that is so utterly theirs. Every word carries history, and by destroying such words the youngster are proposing a break from tradition: they are proposing something new. This idea is captured when they attack the “b Rebellion can take on many forms and in A Clockwork Orange it takes on the form of language: the spoken word. All societies have their constraints, though breaking through them is often difficult. What the “poor” disaffected youth do here is create their own system of communication that is so utterly theirs. Every word carries history, and by destroying such words the youngster are proposing a break from tradition: they are proposing something new. This idea is captured when they attack the “bourgeoisie” professor in the opening scene; they beat him, tear his books apart and strip him naked in the streets. It is an act of aggression and power; it is an act that is infused with jealousy and rage. The lower classes are sick of the elites, and the poor are sick of the rich. And they want to stand on their own two feet. “Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?” However, despite the symbolic nature of the scene, it also demonstrates the rash nature of such youths. In their actions they perpetuate such divisions and class divides. They never stop to consider that perhaps the professor could be sympathetic to their cause. They just don't care; they enjoy violence too much. Instead they just see and object of power, knowledge and wealth, so they attempt to destroy it. Having passion and a strong will are vital for social change, but using such things sensibly and at the right time is also of equal importance. I'm not an advocate of violence, but they could have used that better and more productively too. Society fears them; it fears these boys that represent dissatisfaction and anger. How far can they go? How powerful could they become? What will the future hold? Burgress shows us a speculative future, a “what if” situation that is not implausible. The novel is advisory; it suggests that something needs to be done to society in order to avoid the pitfall the gang fell into here. Like all significant literature, the work has a universal quality: it is as relevant today as it was when it was first published in the 1970s because it shows us what unbridled and misguided temper can achieve. Alex (the gang leader) is thrown into jail after committing a particularly nasty crime. The doctors then attempt to rehabilitate him through psychological treatment based on schema theory and the rules of conditioning and association. Afterwards, the thought of violence sickens him physically and he is thrown out into a world that hates him and one he can no longer survive him. He is completely failed by society, but it is near impossible to have sympathy with such a reckless anarchist. He is violent and spiteful. A Clockwork Orange is a postmodern masterpiece because of its experimental style, language and allegorical content. However, it is also an extremely difficult book to read and an even harder one to enjoy. The slang frustrated me; it was understandable but very dense at times. It’s a clever device, but an agenising one. I disliked this element for the same reason I will never attempt to read Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. I liked to get lost. I don’t like to have to put effort in when I read; perhaps I’m a lazy reader. Regardless though, it was a huge relief to actually finish. I’m still going to watch the film, and I do think I may enjoy it a little more than this.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Henry Avila

    In the near future in an Utopian socialist country, England where everyone has to work ( except the ill or old) whether the job makes any sense or not, a group of teenagers like to party without limits at night. Alex the leader, George 2nd in command, Pete the most sane and the big dim Dim, he's good with his boots, fun loving kids. Your humble narrator Alex, will tell this story my brothers ...First they see an ancient man leaving the library carrying books, very suspicious nobody goes there no In the near future in an Utopian socialist country, England where everyone has to work ( except the ill or old) whether the job makes any sense or not, a group of teenagers like to party without limits at night. Alex the leader, George 2nd in command, Pete the most sane and the big dim Dim, he's good with his boots, fun loving kids. Your humble narrator Alex, will tell this story my brothers ...First they see an ancient man leaving the library carrying books, very suspicious nobody goes there now, inspecting these filthy things and ripping them to pieces, not forgetting a few punches on the offender to stop this evil habit, next entering a shop and borrowing some needed money, the owner and wife have to be persuaded with just a little force for this honor, then teaching a scummy drunk in the street the evil of his ways, pounding some sense into his addled brain. Meeting old friends Billyboy and company, in a dark alley, they exchange love taps but boys sometimes play too hard, drops of blood fall lovingly to the ground. When so many noisy sirens go off these peaceful youths, leave this unhealthy place. Getting tired of walking the gang goes on a joy ride, after spotting the empty car not being used! The friends decide to travel to the countryside, leaving dirty London behind for fresh air, the beauty of the land, the woods, tiny critters to watch and the slow ones on the road to be put out of their misery with a merciful crunch. Viewing a mailbox with the name of Home on it how delightful, this cottage's welcoming couple lets the group in for a spot of tea, they're wearing masks to enliven the carnival atmosphere, even though the man is a creepy writer... ugh. Would you read something called A Clockwork Orange? What a silly title for the good of the world, these pages are scattered everywhere, flying high to the ceiling and floating down below to be properly trashed on the floor by the good doers. Exchanging warm greetings with the wife, Alex your humble narrator my brothers and associates, go back to the city it's getting late, school tomorrow... ultra- violent fun must end ... His frightened parents don't ask too many questions at his small , but dumpy apartment a place they share. His room full of records of classical music, Ludwig Van a favorite to inspire him, which he plays very loud and his parents don't dare to complain anymore. Later Alex is sent to prisoner for a long term murder they say, framed what rot, he is 15. His cell he shares with five other men, nasty criminals all unlike Alex, one will have to sleep on the floor, his fists will not let him be the one ...Doctors Branom and Brodsky ignorant fellows they don't understand his slang, have a new technique to cure his violent behavior, as some people call it two weeks and a free man, let the torture begin...A magnificent fable of what might be...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    "What's it going to be then, eh?" A linguistic adventure, O my brothers. I had seen the Kubrick film and so reading the novella was on the list. I very much enjoyed it, was surprised to learn that American publishers and Kubrick had omitted the crucial last chapter that provides some moral denouement to the ultra-violence. As disturbingly good as this is, one aspect that always comes back to me is Burgess' creation of and use of the Nadsat language. This provides color and mystery to the narrativ "What's it going to be then, eh?" A linguistic adventure, O my brothers. I had seen the Kubrick film and so reading the novella was on the list. I very much enjoyed it, was surprised to learn that American publishers and Kubrick had omitted the crucial last chapter that provides some moral denouement to the ultra-violence. As disturbingly good as this is, one aspect that always comes back to me is Burgess' creation of and use of the Nadsat language. This provides color and mystery to the narrative and it is noteworthy that Burgess' intent was to soften the blow of the violent themes of the book. ** 2018 addendum - it is a testament to great literature that a reader recalls the work years later and this is a book about which I frequently think. This is a book that, for me at least, is connected to the Stanley Kubrick film. I don't always watch a movie after I've read the book, and when I do I usually draw a distinction between the two, but these two works remain indelibly connected in my mind and recollection. The most noteworthy contrast is the omission of the last chapter from the film. Burgess' ending provides a settling of accounts while Kubrick's vision leaves the viewer edgy and uncomfortable.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashleigh

    This book was sweet. The way russian was used to show the distopian future was one of the coolest literary devices I have seen. Because I was so enthralled by it, I often read parts more than once to make sure I was getting the meaning right. Everyone should read this book, and then read it again to make sure they got it.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    437. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel by English writer Anthony Burgess, published in 1962. Set in a near future English society featuring a subculture of extreme youth violence, the teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him. The book is partially written in a Russian-influenced argot called "Nadsat". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه اکتبر سال 2002 میلادی عنوان: پرتقال کو 437. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel by English writer Anthony Burgess, published in 1962. Set in a near future English society featuring a subculture of extreme youth violence, the teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him. The book is partially written in a Russian-influenced argot called "Nadsat". تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز یازدهم ماه اکتبر سال 2002 میلادی عنوان: پرتقال کوکی؛ نوشته: آنتونی برجس؛ مترجم: پریرخ هاشمی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، تمندر، 1381، در 211 ص، شابک: 9649040633؛ موضوع: داستانهای کودکان از نویسندگان بریتانیایی - سده 20 م عنوان: پرتقال کوکی؛ نوشته: آنتونی برجس؛ مترجم: بهنام باقری؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، میلکان، 1394، در 180 ص، شابک: 9786007845264؛ عنوان: پرتقال کوکی؛ نویسنده و اقتباس: استنلی کوبریک؛ مترجم: محمدمهدی فیاضی کیا؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، افراز، 1389، در 135 ص، شابک: 9649789642432257؛ استنلی کوبریک از همین کتاب فیلمنامه ای با همین عنوان برگرفته و بنوشته است، پس همین عنوان فارسی از آن، آن فیلمنامه و همان اقتباس نیز هست، فیلمنامه ی «استنلی کوبریک» با ترجمه جناب آقای: «محمدمهدی فیاضی کیا»، را نشر افراز، در سال 1389 هجری خورشیدی منتشر کرده است، فربد آذسن هم همین کتاب را در 172 ص ترجمه کرده است. ا. شربیانی

  9. 4 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    Like many I suppose, I saw Kubrick's film long ago without having read the book until now. Part punk rock version of Finnegans Wake, part scalding criticism of UK society in the 50s, Burgess' dystopian Center is a real "horrorshow" (in a non-ACO interpretation of the word) of violence. Alex is a terrifying character - every bit as evil as the Joker or Anton Chigurh whose state-sponsored brainwashing is equally disturbing. The prison chaplain's pleas for free choice tend to exemplify the theme of Like many I suppose, I saw Kubrick's film long ago without having read the book until now. Part punk rock version of Finnegans Wake, part scalding criticism of UK society in the 50s, Burgess' dystopian Center is a real "horrorshow" (in a non-ACO interpretation of the word) of violence. Alex is a terrifying character - every bit as evil as the Joker or Anton Chigurh whose state-sponsored brainwashing is equally disturbing. The prison chaplain's pleas for free choice tend to exemplify the theme of the book. In any case, the Wakesque language that Alex employs, while not entirely opaque, takes a little getting used to, but I found it did not take away from the powerful emotions that the text invokes. I also suppose that many of us who are anti-Trump fear this kind of proto-fascist dystopian state (which in some ways is a cousin to that of Atwood's Handmaiden's Tale) and this is what will make reading this book really resonate. Read at your own risk O my brothers.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dean the Bibliophage

    What’s it going to be then, eh? Leave your domy house to borrow from the public biblio, or reach inside your carman for a bit of cutter? Then, O my brothers, feast your glazzies on a dobby choodessny little novel. You’ll smeck your gulliver off and platch at the strack. Itty bedways on your oddy knocky and let’s nachinat critique of this zammechat raskazz. A Clockwork Orange, the dystopian cult classic written by Anthony Burgess and published by William Heinemann in 1962, is a book which addresse What’s it going to be then, eh? Leave your domy house to borrow from the public biblio, or reach inside your carman for a bit of cutter? Then, O my brothers, feast your glazzies on a dobby choodessny little novel. You’ll smeck your gulliver off and platch at the strack. Itty bedways on your oddy knocky and let’s nachinat critique of this zammechat raskazz. A Clockwork Orange, the dystopian cult classic written by Anthony Burgess and published by William Heinemann in 1962, is a book which addresses violence in postmodern society, morality and human choice. The novel is set in the not-too-distant future and narrated by Alex, our teenage protagonist who speaks an invented Russian-influenced argot, Nadsat. Alex and his droogs (or friends) terrorise the locals, performing acts of ultra-violence, dratsing, crasting and rape with the apparent lack of law enforcement, issues graphically portrayed in the book and movie adaptation by Stanley Kubrick. However, when Alex is incarcerated for murder the second part deals with the government’s effort to ‘cure’ and condition him through a method of aversion therapy called Ludovico’s Technique. Finally, we observe how pee, em and his droogs snub Alex’s reclamation and release, and perceive reprisal from characters affected beforehand. The last chapter was never published in the US edition but depicts Alex wanting to start a family, consequently altering its ending. Featured in the Guardian’s 100 best novels series which described it as ‘a volume bursting with linguistic energy that continues to startle and inspire generations of new readers’ A Clockwork Orange was influenced by the author’s return to England from teaching in Malaya and Brunei, recognising the incipient shift of social and cultural spheres. According to the renowned International Anthony Burgess Foundation: ‘Burgess was interested by this emergence of a world that had not existed in his own youth . . . he anticipated the arrival of Mods and Rockers when he presented Alex and his droogs as a gang with a tribal fashion sense.’ It is likewise plausible that a chapter describing the writer’s spouse being violently beaten and raped mirrors an attack on Burgess’ wife, Llewela. “Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?” With the likes of George Orwell and Aldous Huxley inspiring this novel, A Clockwork Orange is powerful and eloquent dystopian prose, a chef-d’oeuvre containing invented words predominantly derived from Russian. The manipulation of English verbs further underlines Burgess’ linguistic virtuoso. Becoming confident with such patois required initial focus, yet a conflation of Russian, Romany and Cockney rhyming slang is fascinating to the human ear, and words are deployed in a style which ensures comprehension of implied meaning. You develop a bond with the narrator who refers to readers as ‘my brothers’ during the story. But you also question whether Burgess is effectively ‘brainwashing’ through language utility and linguistic functionality, analogous to state treatment of Alex. In a paper that explores law and literature connections, Shruthi Ramakrishnan articulates an interesting perspective: ‘Fictional language diminishes the intensity of the violent acts committed by Alex. Burgess manages to pass off the brutal violence extremely casually . . . narrative techniques further reels you into sympathising with the character’s fate at the hands of the government.’ To fully enjoy and value this book you are advised to use the glossary. It’s really not chepooka, O my brothers. Alex (‘Your Humble Narrator’) and Georgie, Pete and Dim (Alex’s droogs) are representative of counterculture akin to British subcultures, disparate youth conflicting with society and challenging or confronting authoritative mechanisms. A Clockwork Orange similarly encourages you to cogitate on the fundamental nature of humanity. Is it superlative to exist in a domain conditioned for the profit of social order or allow its people to exercise freedom of choice, even if decadent or immoral like that enacted by historical figures (and, metaphysically speaking, to what extent might aversion therapy alter the course of historical progression, and how do we perceive good and evil during times of conflict)? Is the government unscrupulous, miscreant or peccant (whereas it considers itself otherwise) in assaying to condition Alex as a motorised clockwork orange, removing their capacity to make decisions as a functioning and sentient human being? Alex’s droogs ultimately join the police or begin their own families (despite not having undergone a form of treatment) so is Ludovico’s Technique just an experimental reaction from the state apparatus to abolish malevolence and thus diminish prison congestion? Furthermore, it is a story where we discover culture and criminality in parallel functionality, with Alex often unleashing criminal comportment before venturing home to the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. There are references to sexual activities and towards the beginning we read of rape amidst the milieu of theatre, an obscene act distorting the distinction between art and violence. In tearing up a gentleman's academic library books and the draft novel of F. Alexander (whose wife is also beaten and raped, and who reappears near the end) does Burgess symbolise Alex and his droogs to condemn cultural commodity (the area of life our protagonist enjoys so much, albeit when detached from criminality)? The influence of Burgess is apparent within narrative structure and characterisation, from his adoration of music to linguistic dexterity. As such, the author has created a protagonist both culturally intelligent yet vulnerable to criminal conduct, at least until Ludovico's Treatment which satirises behaviourism originally popularised by psychologist B. F. Skinner. Watching violent films with the music of Beethoven, Alex becomes sick. “When a man cannot choose, he ceases to be a man.” But where Burgess really excels is the plethora of literary and musical references adroitly woven throughout, imbuing the novel with a sense of cultural erudition and rigour. For example, there is an allusion to the playwright Marghanita Laski, and words deriving from Cassell’s Dictionary of Slang. Despite the absence of reading for pleasure there is a reference to Kingsley Amis (Amis Avenue is named in the book) whose novels Burgess often reviewed. Priestley Place is supposedly named after J. B. Priestley, a writer discussed in The Novel Now (Faber, 1971). And there are biblical quotations (‘Joy before the angels of God’), a quotation from Shakespeare’s Hamlet (‘Rest, perturbed spirit’ in Act 1, Scene 5) and several allusions to Beethoven and the Ninth Symphony in stimulating dreams of violence (if you're interested, Burgess’ novel Napoleon Symphony obtained its structure from Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony). A Clockwork Orange echoes the words of T. S. Eliot in Baudelaire (Selected Essays, 1951, p. 429) which cogitates the following: "So far as we are human, what we do must be either evil or good; so far as we do evil or good, we are human; and it is better, in a paradoxical way, to do evil than to do nothing: at least, we exist. It is true to say that the glory of man is his capacity for salvation; it is also true to say that his glory is his capacity for damnation. The worst that can be said of most of our malefactors, from statesmen to thieves, is that they are not men enough to be damned." And the Clockwork legacy continues as strong as ever. Just this year an unfinished manuscript (The Clockwork Condition) was reportedly found among the archives by Professor Andrew Biswell. Read more about the lost sequel here. The defining story of good and evil, or a black comedy? This book is open to interpretation and debate, often disparaged by the media and literary critics alongside those esteeming its position within popular culture. A Clockwork Orange required me to consider the notion of good versus evil, conditioned good versus unconditioned evil, and the state's power (for political advantage?) in mechanising humanity at its root. Losing their free will to be a criminal also deprives Alex of an adolescence and potential to be successful within arts and music, the very fabric of society. And like Alex, this dystopian novel conditioned my brain to think differently and became one of my favourite books of all time. A real horrorshow work of fiction, O my brothers. Rating: ☆☆☆☆☆ This is a review of the fully restored fiftieth anniversary edition with a foreword by Martin Amis, recommended for lovers of dystopian literature (Updated: 15/08/19)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    "It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen." There are these dystopian visionary books that slowly but steadily move from speculative fiction into the field of painfully realistic portrayals of life as we know and suffer it. Huxley, Orwell and Atwood all saw our ordeal coming, and they created the mood and terror for our era long before we could follow their tracks in the daily news spit out in vicious bits and pieces. Recently a retired teac "It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen." There are these dystopian visionary books that slowly but steadily move from speculative fiction into the field of painfully realistic portrayals of life as we know and suffer it. Huxley, Orwell and Atwood all saw our ordeal coming, and they created the mood and terror for our era long before we could follow their tracks in the daily news spit out in vicious bits and pieces. Recently a retired teacher said to me that nobody could have predicted the generation of students we have to deal with today, who float above and beyond the rules that we try to convey to them: be it orthography, vocabulary, democratic processes, newsworthiness of information, priorities for action and life planning or just fundamental rules of polite communication between human beings of equal dignity - they pick and choose what suits them and laugh in our faces if we suggest there is a common agreement on any kind of behaviour. For every example we offer, they find a counterargument within a click-second on the phone, and the question of ethical guidelines morphs into whether or not we have the right to make any choices at all for these adolescents that they don't feel like agreeing to themselves, based on their current predilections. And I heard myself replying to the older colleague that Anthony Burgess saw it coming in the 60s, and that the question was as hard to answer back then as it is now. Can we actually FORCE students to embrace democracy if they are naturally drawn to charismatic populists? Can we TEACH them critical thinking skills without the imperative and normative value system that turns them into clockwork oranges rather than human beings with a free will and a free choice? How do human beings compete with their own technological achievements, namely the universal attractiveness of instant internet gratification? How do human beings make choices in a society that offers everything at all hours? That is as difficult to handle as the complete choicelessness that is its opposite - but it is much more time-consuming! How do we deal with a generation that sets its own rules based on their idea of negotiable values, communicated in a shorthand pigeon language suitable for quick typing on small screens? How do we deal with their participation in the global online reality show that offers 24/7 opening hours for entertainment of all kinds? Just by the fact that we as teachers are representing a hierarchy we make ourselves impossible in the eyes of a youth whose only wish is to be free, to destroy in order to rise as Phoenix from the ashes. Who does not remember at some point thinking after a lecture of some kind, coming from a place of power: "And I thought to myself, Hell and blast you all, if all you bastards are on the side of Good then I'm glad I belong to the other shop." How do we deal with this on a global scale? The answer my friend, is vital to the survival of our species at this point... but blowing in the wind all the same, while the greying droogs are taking over the power in one country after the other, cheered on by a generation of new droogs who believe in the right to destroy what you see if that is what you like to do. "I like, therefore I do", the new credo for a youth that can't be bothered with philosophy.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Gabrielle

    I once had a truly lovely roommate. In my mind, I now think of her as the Yoga Bunny: yes, because she was a yoga instructor, but also because she was the kind of adorable hippy who wants to believe that deep down, everyone is nice and that if you love one another enough, the world’s problems will eventually solve themselves. She was kind, generous and polite to a fault and I do not mean to make fun of her: I really love her very much, but her world view always seemed terribly naïve and somewhat I once had a truly lovely roommate. In my mind, I now think of her as the Yoga Bunny: yes, because she was a yoga instructor, but also because she was the kind of adorable hippy who wants to believe that deep down, everyone is nice and that if you love one another enough, the world’s problems will eventually solve themselves. She was kind, generous and polite to a fault and I do not mean to make fun of her: I really love her very much, but her world view always seemed terribly naïve and somewhat delusional to me. I may be a cynic, but it really struck me like a ton of bricks one evening, when she was looking at my bookcase after asking if she could borrow something to read. She pulled “A Clockwork Orange” off the shelf and asked me what it was about. “It’s a futuristic dystopian tale about whether it’s better to have the free will to be a bad person or to be forced to be a good person” I replied after a moment’s pause. It was really the best way I could think of summarizing Burgess’ novella. “Why would anyone want to write… or read anything so horrible?!” she cried, her big eyes suddenly filled with tears. She put the book back on the shelf, grabbed my copy of “Eat, Pray and Love” and promptly retreated to her room to read, and presumably to scrub her ears clean of the terribly offensive idea I had just uttered. Again, I don’t want to make fun of Yoga Bunny. Her wildly optimistic worldview made the entire idea of Burgess’ masterpiece disgusting. She couldn’t see why people would choose to be bad, hurtful and violent. I did not bother trying to explain that the concept of free will is about much more than just the violent acts committed by the anti-hero Alex: we use free will every day and the point of the book is to get us to think about what it would mean if that capacity to choose was taken away. And I must say, it is not as violent as some people make it sound: most horror novels contain much more disgusting violence than what is in the pages of this book. And furthermore, Burgess never condones any of the acts committed by Alex and his droogs. That being said, few horror novels manage to be as disturbing as this tiny novella; not because of the violence, but because of the ideas. Some spoilers ahead. Alex is clearly a sociopath, who doesn’t feel anything about other people. Their pain, their suffering, their feelings, none of that matters to him. He wants his thrills, whether those are sexual or from getting into a good fight. The Ludovico Technique gives him physical pain when he tries to act on his violent urges, but it doesn’t take his urges away. He still wants to hurt and rape, even if he can’t. Because goodness cannot be imposed on anyone, it always remains a choice. Conditioning him would never “fix” him: therapy and education might, but that’s not the method he is subjected to. Because ultimately, Dr. Brodsky doesn’t care about Alex any more than Alex cared about his victims. He wants to cut down crime, not make people better. When Alex is freed again, attacked and incapable of defending himself, some readers would probably cheer because he finally gets what he deserves. But I see a more subtle point being made. The point that sometimes, one has to do things that would, under other circumstances, be considered “bad”, for good reasons. Hitting someone is bad; but hitting someone to defend yourself because someone is trying to hurt or kill you isn’t. When it was originally published in the United-States, the final chapter, where Alex outgrows his sociopathy and becomes “normal”, was removed to give the book a darker tone and ending. Kubrick used that version for his brilliant adaptation (which I watch at least once a year – it’s one of my all-time favorite movies), which concludes with the realization Ludovico Technique has stopped affecting Alex: his favorite music and thoughts of violence no longer hurt him and he is… “cured”. I find both endings equally fascinating. In either case he is cured, but what exactly is he cured of? I love this ambiguity. The book’s original ending suggests that there is a possibility of redemption for everyone (see Yoga Bunny, there are some optimistic passages in this book!), it hints that maturity will eventually smooth out people’s character. I don’t know how much I believe that… but I get the point. The linguistic tour de force accomplished by Burgess – while irritating at first, until your brain begins to recognize the patterns and cadence – is impressive enough to make it worth the read, regardless of how you feel about the moral dilemma contained within the pages. Russian, Shakespearean turns of phrase and Cockney slang actually blend beautifully, and the Nadsat words are used perfunctorily enough that when you read a sentence in context, you can quickly figure out what every word means. The first 10 pages will be a struggle, and that is why in this specific case, I’d recommend watching the movie before reading the book, just to get familiar with the language. But once you get past the Nadsat hurdle, so to speak, you start understanding the genius of its use: it gives such a rich texture to the text, it puts words on images and feelings that are impossible to associate to a regular English word. “A Clockwork Orange” is disturbing, gorgeous and horrible all at once. It scares me but I also enjoy it very much. I really think it’s worth the read, unpleasant as it may be at times. And obviously, I also strongly recommend the wonderful Kubrick movie. The music and sets are haunting, and I will always picture Alex as Malcolm McDowell. I’d love to watch it with Yoga Bunny someday, and hopefully seeing this terrible person get tortured in the name of “goodness” will help her think about free will a bit differently.

  13. 4 out of 5

    J.L. Sutton

    Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange is a fantastic, thought-provoking and immersive read! Don’t be put off by the invented slang. It comes very easily once you begin reading, and adds to the experience. Besides recommending this book, I do have a final thought concerning chapter 21, the chapter which was left out of the published American edition of the novel as well as the iconic film by Stanley Kubrick. I understand Burgess’s desire to show change in his young anti-hero, Alex; however, the tr Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange is a fantastic, thought-provoking and immersive read! Don’t be put off by the invented slang. It comes very easily once you begin reading, and adds to the experience. Besides recommending this book, I do have a final thought concerning chapter 21, the chapter which was left out of the published American edition of the novel as well as the iconic film by Stanley Kubrick. I understand Burgess’s desire to show change in his young anti-hero, Alex; however, the transformation in this final chapter defies believability. It’s not that dramatic change is impossible. Rather, forcing this to happen in one chapter cheapens it and makes it feel like an afterthought. It also falls flat. Otherwise, though, I found A Clockwork Orange an incredibly well-crafted and engaging story. 4.5 Stars.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I'm updating this after reading Burgess' autobiography, "You've Had Your Time." He did write the book after WWII (he was a pilot). While he was away, his wife claimed that she had been gang-raped by four American GIs who broke into their home. Burgess wavers in his belief of this event taking place; the perpetrators were never found. He also frequently accuses his wife of cheating on him and expresses an intense desire to cheat on her with younger women. He also spends a great deal of time slamm I'm updating this after reading Burgess' autobiography, "You've Had Your Time." He did write the book after WWII (he was a pilot). While he was away, his wife claimed that she had been gang-raped by four American GIs who broke into their home. Burgess wavers in his belief of this event taking place; the perpetrators were never found. He also frequently accuses his wife of cheating on him and expresses an intense desire to cheat on her with younger women. He also spends a great deal of time slamming Stanley Kubrick (I'm not a huge Kubrick fan, but I kind of wanted to just slap Burgess and say, "so you didn't like his adaptation of your book, stop whining and deal with it."). It's believed that Burgess wrote "A Clockwork Orange" as a way of coping with what happened to his wife; he seems to confirm this in his autobiography. However, this further increases my dislike of the book and of Burgess. In "A Clockwork Orange," the writer's wife (who never even gets a name) simply curls up and dies after being gang raped. In reality, Burgess's wife cheated on him. This makes me believe that Burgess wishes that his wife was more like the woman in the book; that, in his view, the "correct" response to being gang raped is to curl up and die. His autobiography makes him seem kind of like a jerk, which definitely tainted my view of "A Clockwork Orange." So let's try a more objective review... While "A Clockwork Orange" does raise intellectual and philosophical questions about freedom of thought, speech, and actions, it ultimately lets the main character, Alex, get away with horrible things and punish those who want him to face justice for his actions. Alex spends a good chunk of the book committing violent acts just because he feels like it. He is finally sent to jail, where he is subjected to a radical new experiment that will alter his behavior and make it physically impossible for him to be violent. The treatment works too well, as he's unable to properly defend himself when attacked by former victims. The treatment is somehow undone, and Alex quickly reverts back to his violent ways. However, he grows bored and decides that he wants to get married and have kids. The book ends with him sitting in the Korova (sp?) Milk Bar, reminiscing about his teenage years (he compares all teenagers to wind-up toys who have no real freedom, only a set route which they must follow) and imagining telling this to the son he would like to someday have. That said, I still hate this book. It's well-written, and I enjoy the Nasdat (slang). However, it's the implication that you don't have to actually work for your happy ending and the idea that anyone can be redeemed simply by changing their ways (Alex never, ever expresses remorse for what he's done, making his desire to change feel like it's come out of the blue) that bothers me. The ending of this book feels lazy and poorly-executed, and I would have liked it better if Alex had had to actually work to earn his redemption instead of saying, "man, violence is boring. I wanna have a baby."

  15. 5 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    A favourite of my late teens, still a favourite now. The brutality of male blooming and the private patois of our teenhood . . . splattered across this brilliant moral satire, abundant in vibrant, bursting language and a structural perfection: Shakespearean, dammit. Goddamn Shakespearean! nadsat is second only to the language in Riddley Walker for a perfectly rendered invented language that is consistent within the novel’s own internal logic. This book is musical! This book sings, swings, cries A favourite of my late teens, still a favourite now. The brutality of male blooming and the private patois of our teenhood . . . splattered across this brilliant moral satire, abundant in vibrant, bursting language and a structural perfection: Shakespearean, dammit. Goddamn Shakespearean! nadsat is second only to the language in Riddley Walker for a perfectly rendered invented language that is consistent within the novel’s own internal logic. This book is musical! This book sings, swings, cries and rages! Oh this book, this book! My first encounter with unbridled creativity, intelligence, elegance, thematic unity, this book made me weep for the future of poor sadistic Alex. Oh, he must grow up, he must! But he doesn’t Oh Humble Skimmer, he doesn’t! His nadsat is in place up until his story ends, and all that cal, so Alex remains a perpetual teen, like the boring little shit in Salinger’s unambitious literary haemorrhage (I forget the title). This book, this book! Oh my droogies, oh my Bog . . . nothing hurts so much on your stomachs and your heads and your hearts as this book . . . except maybe having Earthly Powers dropped on your tootsies . . . !!! [collapse into gibberish] !!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Let's begin with the Penguin book cover....Too cool for words! And the novel....It's DARK. While slow going at first, it didn't take long to get the drift of the slang, nadsat talk....all the teens use it, but I recommend staying with it without long interruption once you start. "It's a stinking world because it lets the young get on to the old like you done, and there's no law nor order no more. I'm not one bit scared of you, my boyos, because I'm too drunk to feel the pain if you hit me and if Let's begin with the Penguin book cover....Too cool for words! And the novel....It's DARK. While slow going at first, it didn't take long to get the drift of the slang, nadsat talk....all the teens use it, but I recommend staying with it without long interruption once you start. "It's a stinking world because it lets the young get on to the old like you done, and there's no law nor order no more. I'm not one bit scared of you, my boyos, because I'm too drunk to feel the pain if you hit me and if you kill me I'll be glad to be dead.". So they "cracked into him lovely" and went on their way. Fifteen year old Alex and his 'droogs' Georgie, Pete and Dim wreak havoc throughout this "horrorshow" of ultra-violence in this 1962 classic. To Alex, everything is a "real horrorshow" something or other....as you will see. And it's a wicked new world as the boys don their masks, light their 'cancers' and set out about stealing, maiming and gang raping....not to mention murdering without a care in the world. No one is safe....not grandma with her house full of cats (go 'pusspots') or little girls in the music store. (oh my) Even Alex's Post-Corrective Advisor has had enough and gives warning that a reckoning is due, but Alex knows he has the old baboochkas...."good old girls" as cover. And his parents, they're oblivious....don't go out much, too many hooligans on the street. Ha! "Everybody knows little Alex and his 'droogs'. Quite a famous young boy our Alex has become." But a power struggle to stay "real horrorshow" leader causes strife within the ranks forcing Alex to put BIG Dim in his place, then....O my brothers....traitorous 'droogs'. Alex suffers thru 'viddies' for over a fortnight while in lock-up treatment, but nothing was so satisfying as when we see him experience payback. What goes around, comes around, hehehe. As filthy dark and horrible as some of the actions are within these pages, believe it or not, it was almost comical because of the slang talk, even the worst of the worst, and I can't even believe I'm saying that. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE. What a crazy, surprising read! Guess I need to 'viddie' the movie now too. UPDATE: August 11, 2019 - As for the movie, it follows the story as written with all the ultra-violence, but no bloody gore, the most horrid parts projected in fast-forward mode like a silent movie....and with music. The costumes of the actors are a riot especially Alex's mother....and, of course, the 'droogs'. SO CRAZY!!!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Forrest

    The American Review: At times, I find beauty in dissonance. Take, for example, my eclectic music collection. I have my share of soothing music: new age, quiet electronica, and so forth. I have some popular mainstream music, mostly from the '80s. Some funk, some reggae, ska, a bit of trance and techno. Yes, there's the heavy metal, punk, classic rock from my youth, and even a little progressive death metal. And, amongst it all, a good dose of 20th century classical pieces by such composers as Geor The American Review: At times, I find beauty in dissonance. Take, for example, my eclectic music collection. I have my share of soothing music: new age, quiet electronica, and so forth. I have some popular mainstream music, mostly from the '80s. Some funk, some reggae, ska, a bit of trance and techno. Yes, there's the heavy metal, punk, classic rock from my youth, and even a little progressive death metal. And, amongst it all, a good dose of 20th century classical pieces by such composers as George Crumb, Arvo Part, and Krzyzstof Penderecki played by several performers, including my favorite, the renowned Kronos Quartet. Now, I don't revel in atonal music all the time. But once in a while, I just have to “blow the tubes,” as they say, and crank up the stereo a bit. I'm careful to do this when the wife and kids aren't around. The kids can take everything but the modern classical stuff. And my wife, well, she's no metalhead, let's put it that way, but she is a fantastic piano player . . . of the more normal classical pieces and jazz. So why? I often ask myself, do I glory, at times, in the inglorious? Well, I have no good answer, save for the need is there. To quote 15 year-old Alex, the narrator of A Clockwork Orange, “what I do I do because I like to do”. Of course, I’m not addicted to ultra-violence like young Alex. Sure, I had my share of dalliances as a 15 year old, but rape and brutal beatings of the elderly were not on my list of things to do, much less murder. I can count on one hand the number of actual fights I was in. Still, I can relate to the devil-may-care attitude, or at least I could have related, as a teenager. So, though I don’t condone any of the heinous acts that Alex and his “droogies” (friends) participate in, I can see where the attitude comes from. I probably shouldn't say this, but while I could never find myself doing the things he does, I could, as an American teenager living in England back in the '80s, find myself feeling the way he feels. I do remember. But now I’m all grown up (ostensibly). I’m a responsible husband and father, I hold a day job, contribute to my church and community, I vote, clean up the yard, donate to public radio, all that stuff. And maybe that’s the reason I like some dissonance in my music once in a while or, in this case, in my literature. It reminds me of a younger age. Not that I want to go back and do it over again. I don't. But occasionally I've an urge to . . . indulge myself. Thankfully, all it takes is the right music or the right book and I'm set straight again. Whatever the cause for my itch, Burgess has scratched it with A Clockwork Orange. Possibly the most brutal “coming of age” novel I’ve read, A Clockwork Orange sets up a society and a narrator full of conflict and chaos. Alex, along with many other teenagers, rule the night in what may or may not be a socialist police state. I’m reminded more of Mobutu’s Zaire than Stalin’s Russia, in this case. The government isn’t so much in total control as it’s allowing chaos to foment in a semi-contained manner (in Mobutu's case, geographically contained to Eastern Zaire, in Burgess' case, temporally contained to the night). Kids run the streets after sunset, but only because there aren’t as many police (or "millicents") out during the night as there are during the day (according to Alex). It’s all a sort of dysfunctional dystopia that can’t make up its mind how to administer power and leaves it up to a lackadaisical police force (some of whom are ex-gang members) to abuse those who are the most disruptive to society. The language of the novel is also dissonant. "Nadsat" or teenager talk, is a sort of creole admixture of Russian terms, Gypsy words, and an immature bit of baby-talk. At first, I found myself flipping back and forth from the text to the glossary in the back. After a chapter, though, I fell into the rhythm and found myself rather enjoying the strangeness of it all. In fact, once you've "got the rhythm," it's a little hard to let go. The voice of the novel lingers in the reader's head long after the book is closed. I found myself dreaming, at times, in nadsat. Then there’s the narrator himself. He’s a lover of classical music, but a thug to the utmost. His two-faced approach to life leaves the reader wondering “who is the *real* Alex and is he truly capable of reform?” In the end, (view spoiler)[the answer is “no”. You can take the man out of the ghetto, but you can't take the ghetto out of the man. (hide spoiler)] . The British Review: . . . Then there's the narrator himself. He's a lover of classical music, but a thug to the utmost. His two-faced approach to life leaves the reader wondering “who is the *real* Alex and is he truly capable of reform?” In the end, (view spoiler)[the answer is that in time, maturity, the mere plodding march of chronology, wears down the deadly inner-demons that even brainwashing cannot purge. There is a certain inevitability to the track of life, an inescapable softening that cannot be averted. (hide spoiler)] The Universal Review: In the end, Burgess posits the existentialist notion that change will impose its will when it wills it. Life itself says “what I do I do because I like to do”. Fight against it, if you want, or give in. Life doesn't much care. But does that mean you shouldn't? Coda: And here I come full-circle. Internal dissonance is a part of me. That doesn't mean I embrace it all of the time. But I don't entirely shut it out, either. One might say I flip-flop between the American and the British ending. So, for me, reading A Clockwork Orange was more than just a reading. It was an exploration of what it means to be me, both the beautiful and the ugly, the sacred and the sinister, the tame and the wild. I can't say whether I like the American ending or the British ending better, though I'm glad I read them both. They are two sides of the same coin, a coin that, for me, continually flips through my psyche, flashing through the years, never really landing: heads or tails? Addendum: Who says that Nadsat can't be playful? I recently found this Nadsat version of "The Jabberwocky"! This may be one of the most brilliant literary crossovers I've ever read!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Matthias

    Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium, A Clockwork Orange. That title has stuck to my mind for a big part of my life, without ever making sense to me. The only image I had in association with these words, not having seen the movie but only some references to it, was a guy forced to keep his eyes open, forced to watch horrible images of extreme violence accompanied with music so loud it made his ears bleed. I could not make sense of that title, oh no. I was afraid of that title and o Freude, schöner Götterfunken, Tochter aus Elysium, A Clockwork Orange. That title has stuck to my mind for a big part of my life, without ever making sense to me. The only image I had in association with these words, not having seen the movie but only some references to it, was a guy forced to keep his eyes open, forced to watch horrible images of extreme violence accompanied with music so loud it made his ears bleed. I could not make sense of that title, oh no. I was afraid of that title and of the question as to what it meant. The image of that guy strapped into a chair seemed too scary, the title too absurd to merit further thought. In my mind, it was probably just some artistic take on absurdity, and the image the result of a quest for art trying to cover up a primitive need for showing and seeing violence, for being shocked. I could understand this being in the height of fashion at some point, but that point was long gone. I didn't need such a thing in my life, not Your Humble Reviewer, oh no. I've tried dismissing its existence from my thoughts, but the orange, tic-tac-tocking in my brain, kept gnawing and nagging and I caved. And so it is that I decided to enter Nightmare Theatre. * Wir betreten feuertrunken, Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! The first thing one notices when reading this book, or even reviews on this book, is the language. Nadsat, slang used by British youth in this hypothetical future, is influenced by English, Russian (this being a dystopian British novel written in the sixties, after all) and teenagers in search of identity through the appropriation of language. Our narrator, Alex, being a molodoy malchick with his em's moloko still dripping from his rot, uses it consistently when addressing the reader, making this language inescapable. The first page may seem utterly daunting because of this, but put your mind at ease. It's not a coincidence that so many reviews chose to assimilate its words. It's very easy to catch on, with a lot of the words being sufficiently repeated (I don't think there's many novels using the word "mouth" as much as this one uses "rot") in a context that makes their meaning clear. And if you like puns, you'll find plenty in this book. My favorite one was a "symphony" being called a "seemfunnah". Well, it seemed funny to me at least. Most of the nadsat words pertain to the body and verbs of the five senses, making the image of zoobies being pulled out of one's krovvy rot a little easier to digest. This way the subject is very fleshy, violent and bloody up-close and personal, while keeping the tone surprisingly light and distant. Anyone up for a little ultra-violent in-out-in-out? Deine Zauber binden wieder, Was die Mode streng geteilt; The theme of this book is a lot deeper than I had given it credit earlier on, and surprisingly easy to find. First consider the following key passage showing the badness of the narrator, in his own words: "This biting of their toe-nails over what is the cause of badness is what turns me into a fine laughing malchick. They don't go into the cause of goodness, so why the other shop? If lewdies are good that's because they like it, and I wouldn't ever interfere with their pleasures, and so of the other shop. And I was patronizing the other shop. More, badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our oddy knockies, and that self is made by old Bog or God and is his great pride and radosty. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the school cannot allow bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave malenky selves fighting these big machines? I am serious with you, brothers, over this. But what I do I do because I like to do." So here we have a guy who enjoys being the bad guy, considers it part and parcel of his identity. On the other hand, as he himself puts it, we have a government who doesn't want all this theft, rape and murder in its streets. Upon seeing that incarceration doesn't work, they figured out a way to brainwash criminals into being good people, or rather, good citizens, stripping them from their identity. Their method consists of some chemical treatment and also the exercise of forcing someone to look at evil without the luxury of turning away. Without the luxury of blinking even. A punishment that even the best among the good could learn from, I would think. Now consider the following statements and questions raised by the prison chaplain: "Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man." "It may not be nice to be good. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want woodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?" This discussion was then poured into the metaphor of the "Clockwork Orange", and it's then that all my doubts and wonderings over the title of this book finally clicked into place: "The attempt to impose upon man, a creature of growth and capable of sweetness, to ooze juicily at the last round the bearded lips of God, to attempt to impose, I say, laws and conditions appropriate to a mechanical creation, against this I raise my sword-pen." Begging the question to the reader: where do you stand in all of this? Alle Menschen werden Brüder, Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt. If those questions aren't enough for you, oh my brothers, to sit and think hard on your own value systems, Anthony Burgess uses this amazing protagonist as a mirror for your mind, inescapable and uncomfortable. We're talking about a teenager, shown in his worst possible light. He steals, he rapes, he murders. Mercy and remorse are unknown to him. But he likes you, the Reader. He trusts you with his innermost thoughts and feelings. In the beginning of the book I thoroughly hated the guy and couldn't wait for him to go sit in that chair. But then the questions came. If we decide to kill his mind, why not just decide to kill him whole? And how good does that make us, the good people asking themselves these horrible questions? I don't know if it is because he went through that brainwashing treatment, meaning I would agree with it in the end, or because of the trusting, innocent tone he uses when telling his tale, but the bastard did grow on me. The raping, murdering rascall won me over and made me shed a tear of sympathy at the close of this book. Watch out, my brothers, for he's good with words. His tongue is sharp but his heart is twisted. Twisted and juicy and beating with life and wih a purity I can't help but admire and love. I have no answers here. It's all about good and evil and many men before me have pointed to the skies in exasperation, in search for an answer to these things. I'm just another guy, thankful for the questions raised, questions heard by the tic-tac-tocking orange in my chest, tic-tac-tocking without knowing a single thing but tic-tac-tocking none the less and all the more. ________________________ Note by Your Humble Reviewer: This review was written on the tunes of Beethoven's 9th (on repeat), the anarchist-protagonist's favorite song, an ode to joy and currently the anthem causing some European government bratchies to put their rookers over their chest. Believe me or kiss my sharries, oh my brothers, but that's what truly happened here. ________________________ * Some shameless° self-promotion in spoiler: (view spoiler)[I'm probably not the first one to notice, but I think I have discovered a direct link between this book and Alfred Bester's book "The Stars My Destination", published a couple of years prior to "A Clockwork Orange". In that book, a Nightmare Theatre is mentioned in which a person is confronted with his worst nightmares without a chance of escape. When Alex is wheeled out of the movie room, one of the nurses tells him: "Come on then, little tiger.", this being a reference to Bester's original title: Tiger! Tiger!, I think. I felt pretty pleased with myself for having found that connection all on my oddy knocky, figment of my imagination or not. (hide spoiler)] ° Well, not really that shameless, I did put it in spoiler-tags. ________________________ And now for that movie! Here I itty to viddy that sinny.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Reading Corner

    This is a dark, compelling read with massive amounts of violent acts and imagery that run throughout the novel. They are definitely vividly described but in one way the violence is slightly censored with the use of the nadsat language, a language teenagers use in the novel. The book doesn't promote violence but instead explores the idea of violence entwined with youth and the morality of free will. The nadsat language is a little confusing and irritating at the start but with the help of an onli This is a dark, compelling read with massive amounts of violent acts and imagery that run throughout the novel. They are definitely vividly described but in one way the violence is slightly censored with the use of the nadsat language, a language teenagers use in the novel. The book doesn't promote violence but instead explores the idea of violence entwined with youth and the morality of free will. The nadsat language is a little confusing and irritating at the start but with the help of an online reference I quickly remembered what meant what and at times it was easy to decipher the word. The nadsat language quickly grew on me and enriched the narrative of Alex, an aggressive, vicious 15 year old boy who enjoys beating, raping, robbing and killing or any other criminal activity. I enjoyed his narrative as he continuously addresses the reader "O, my brothers," his narrative is interesting as he is a complex character as he is incredibly brutal but is also intellectual as he greatly appreciates classical music such as Beethoven's ninth symphony. His character takes intriguing turns especially at the end when he goes through a drastic change. This book is definitely one of my favourites as the nadsat language immerses you into the dystopian world and actually makes you think more about what is being said. The story is full of surprises and twists with riveting concepts like whether it is better to choose to live a terrible life full of heinous crimes or forced to be good and abide by the law. This book makes you question society and moral instinct and aids you in fully understanding what is being said with its unique language.

  20. 5 out of 5

    R.K. Gold

    The intro to this book made me awfully sad, even more so when I loved the book. The fact that this was perhaps Anthony Burgess' most memorable piece and that he was so ambivalent about it kind of twists my stomach in knots. It's why I felt so guilty giving it a perfect 5 star rating, but I really had no choice. I thought it was brilliant. The entire book had me emotionally attached. I felt angry at the world surrounding Alex and despised almost all he encountered while gnawing at the back of my The intro to this book made me awfully sad, even more so when I loved the book. The fact that this was perhaps Anthony Burgess' most memorable piece and that he was so ambivalent about it kind of twists my stomach in knots. It's why I felt so guilty giving it a perfect 5 star rating, but I really had no choice. I thought it was brilliant. The entire book had me emotionally attached. I felt angry at the world surrounding Alex and despised almost all he encountered while gnawing at the back of my mind was the unrelenting truth that he himself was a monster. It's an outrageous thought put down on the page, which the intro also touches on, how non-human a being incapable of doing evil is and how it's just as foreign as a being of pure evil. It's a short read, I finished it in a day and a half and in my opinion a must read. Even without the plot Burgess demonstrates how versatile language is and how much a reader can learn from repetition of specific words/phrases and context.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    One of my favorite books of all time...but be warned that the ending is different than the ending of Stanley Kubrick's movie (also a classic). Truth be told I prefer the movie ending...but the overall message is the same: when a generation of vipers slithers free who provided the nest they were spawned in?

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jilly

    I read this as part of a reading challenge. I've never seen the movie either, and now that I've read it, I don't think I want to. This is what it would take to make me watch a movie that includes this as a scene. It's really hard to review this book because it has been studied, picked apart, and written about for years and years. So, I'm going to approach it as I would any book: what an average American shlub thinks about it. No scholarly dissertation, no thesis, no talking about the symbolism. Ju I read this as part of a reading challenge. I've never seen the movie either, and now that I've read it, I don't think I want to. This is what it would take to make me watch a movie that includes this as a scene. It's really hard to review this book because it has been studied, picked apart, and written about for years and years. So, I'm going to approach it as I would any book: what an average American shlub thinks about it. No scholarly dissertation, no thesis, no talking about the symbolism. Just how it made me feel. The biggest thing about this book is the fact that it is harder than hell to read. It's like decoding hieroglyphics. The language is some sort of made-up slang that will annoy the crap out of you when you start the book. And, this slang language is ridiculous. Many of the words are silly sounding and rhyming. (It is supposed to be an off-shoot of Cockney Rhyming Slang). You may just want to shoot yourself in the head after a few pages. It's like Dr. Seuss broke bad or something. Seriously annoying. The next big thing is the senseless, brutal violence in this story. There is killing, raping, and torture. It's horrible stuff. In this case, the stupid language actually helps because the words used for everything takes you a step-back from the violence. The torture of our narrator was really the most important part of the story. Everything the book is saying comes down to whether the torture was a good thing or bad thing. There are complex issues that are explored, like crime & punishment, free will vs. determinism, parental and governmental responsibility, etc... This is why so much has been written about a book that calls eggs "eggiwegs". It had better be deep if one is willing to slosh through that much annoyingness. It's like running through a Lego gauntlet. There had better be something good at the end. The version I read of this book included an extra chapter that was originally edited out of the American version of it. When I noted where it would have cut-off, I actually thought it would have been a much better story if it ended there. I guess that means the editor understood us Americans. But, in the forward that was written by the author, he whines and bitches about the editing. He actually whined and bitched about a lot of things. He was pretty bitter about the book and about Stanley Kubrick making a buttload of money off the movie. His own protagonist would have bitch-slapped him, cut him up a bit, and raped his mother if he met his creator. Seriously, the guy was a self-important weenie. Luckily, this author is dead, so I get to trash him without remorse. So, would I recommend anyone reading this book? No freaking way. I just finished it and I have a headache, am slightly depressed, and will be afraid of teenagers from now on. Just skip this and read something that will make you happy.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    The feck?! I loved this movie as a kid a million years ago. I’m not sure about now, waiting to watch it somewhere just to see. The book was pretty much: NO! Although, I do love making up my own words and punctuation and shite. But still: NO! I do love the way what’s his head looks in the movie though - so there’s that 😉 Happy Reading!! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾

  24. 4 out of 5

    F

    Love! Love the language used and getting used to that

  25. 4 out of 5

    Johann (jobis89)

    ”What’s it going to be then, eh?” 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. 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 hav ”What’s it going to be then, eh?” 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. 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣

    Hmmm... This is going to be a challenge because I find A Clockwork Orange a tricky book. I'll start by saying that last week I read Prince of Thorns, a book about a 14 years old boy (Jorg) who kills, rapes and does pretty much everything he wants. This book is about a 15 years old boy (Alex) who rapes, kills and does pretty much everything he wants. And to think people found Jorg disturbing. Jorg has a reason and a goal. Alex is just... heck if I know what he's about. I guess he's just enjoying h Hmmm... This is going to be a challenge because I find A Clockwork Orange a tricky book. I'll start by saying that last week I read Prince of Thorns, a book about a 14 years old boy (Jorg) who kills, rapes and does pretty much everything he wants. This book is about a 15 years old boy (Alex) who rapes, kills and does pretty much everything he wants. And to think people found Jorg disturbing. Jorg has a reason and a goal. Alex is just... heck if I know what he's about. I guess he's just enjoying himself (until he's caught and sent to prison). In prison, he finds out about the Ludovico technique, an experimental behavior-modification treatment. Alex submits to it in exchange for his sentence being reduced. Problem is, once he's free, the simple thought of violence makes him very ill. So... I didn't particularly like this one because I don't really understand it. What happened to society that parents became so uninterested in their children's education? I mean a boy doesn't get like Alex if he has loving and caring parents. And from what I got in the book, the youth violence problem was pretty much general. Where were all the adults? Something doesn't add up right. I don't mean that I cannot believe a 15-year-old could be that vicious, I just don't understand why. Nope. Not my thing.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    I’m not sure how I’ve got through over 50 years without reading this and this year I have one or two books on my list which could be titled “books I should have read as a teenager and probably shouldn’t read now”. This is one of them. The history surrounding it is also interesting. Burgess was returning home with his wife from working abroad for six years in 1960, He was at this point diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour (mistakenly as it happens). He set to writing and wrote five and a half I’m not sure how I’ve got through over 50 years without reading this and this year I have one or two books on my list which could be titled “books I should have read as a teenager and probably shouldn’t read now”. This is one of them. The history surrounding it is also interesting. Burgess was returning home with his wife from working abroad for six years in 1960, He was at this point diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour (mistakenly as it happens). He set to writing and wrote five and a half novels in a year. This one is the half, the first draft written in three weeks. Burgess’s plan was to enable his wife to live on the royalties when he was gone (he was a man confident in his abilities). The novel is written with a first person narrator, Alex, and is very violent. It is set 10 years ahead of when it was written. One of the striking features is the language and the slang that Burgess invents; known as Nadsat. Burgess had visited Russia and based some of the words on Russian, others on cockney rhyming slang. He was a great fan of Finnegan’s Wake and liked his readers to do a bit of work and liked the idea of layers. Actually you can access a crib sheet on the internet fairly easily these days. The violence is sickening and Burgess said he hated writing it. It is notable that in 1944 Burgess’s first wife was brutally attacked by 4 army deserters and suffered a miscarriage as a result. Burgess puts this incident into the book; but from the point of view of the attackers, as an attempt to explain/understand. Again the controversy about the film, which is more nihilistic than the book rests on a mistake as originally the last chapter was omitted from the first US edition. This makes for a much more negative ending and explains the difference between the film and the book. For Burgess the last chapter is crucial and is where the morality of the book rests. In part one we have Alex and his gang running free and committing violence without compunction (it was a stroke of genius to call the police millicents!). In part two Alex is incarcerated and given a sort of aversion therapy so he is physically sick when confronted with any violence. In the third part Alex is released into society; he is now in his late teens. He finds he cannot recapture the past. Eventually his treatment is reversed. Alex tries to set up a new gang, but finds he is now beginning to be bored by what previously excited him and eventually decides that he would rather settle down with a milky drink and listen to music than beat people up. That is the point of the book; the excesses of youth are ephemeral and will pass. However there is another set of youth to replace him and the cycle never ends. There is a morality, but also a deep underlying pessimism. Some of the victims from part one and reintroduced in part three and all are deeply scarred by their experiences; all want revenge and society isn’t mended by Alex being punished. In later life Burgess did wonder whether he should have written the novel and felt the film had fundamentally misunderstood his purpose. However, for me, there is no clarity in that purpose. Burgess raises interesting points about violence, which in A Clockwork Orange is always by men, and its effects. He tries to understand and explain rather than solve or preach. The “liberal” cure of making Alex “good” fails miserably and takes away his ability to choose. What cures him is time and the process or ageing or growing up. However the next generation has taken over and the process continues. Incidentally the use of language and the writing are brilliant; but the message is gloomy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    This book was real horrorshow, O my brothers. I suggest that all vecks should viddy it if they have a chance.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Brad

    'What's it going to be then, eh?' That was me, that is your humble commentator, sitting down to pass my glazzies over a book eemyaed A Clockwork Orange I'd sobirated from the biblio. I was ready to be tolchocked in my litso, to have my mozg pried out of my gulliver, to feel that sickening drop in the yarbles when falling from a great tower block; I expected to be preached to by that nadmenny veck A. Burgess in all his high goloss; I expected to loathe Alex and all his malenky malchick droogs. But 'What's it going to be then, eh?' That was me, that is your humble commentator, sitting down to pass my glazzies over a book eemyaed A Clockwork Orange I'd sobirated from the biblio. I was ready to be tolchocked in my litso, to have my mozg pried out of my gulliver, to feel that sickening drop in the yarbles when falling from a great tower block; I expected to be preached to by that nadmenny veck A. Burgess in all his high goloss; I expected to loathe Alex and all his malenky malchick droogs. But by Bog or God I got something much more horrorshow. I actually enjoyed A. Burgess's nadsat burble. I found veshches -- like all the ultra violence and razrezzing and oobivatting and twisted radosty -- to be oomily delivered. I ponied where little Alex was coming from and raged against the millicents and infintmins and prestoopniks and bolnoy sophistos that were arrayed against him. I actually guffed and smecked at like many veshches. But I nearly platched at how malenky little Alex saw the error of his ways and looked forward to a life of chai and a zheena and malenky vecks of his own. But once I viddied the story like once I wanted rookerfuls, and I've returned again and again, both to A. Burgess's book and S. Kubrick's sinny. A Clockwork Orange is one of the five or six true greats ever govoreeted. The nadsat isn't at all gimmicky. The lomticks of philosophy are compelling and grow in relevance with the passing of raz. And I for one, oh my brothers, will always "remember the little Alex that was. Amen. And all that cal." Now he was a chelloveck of malevolently heroic proportions.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    Actual rating: 3.5 🌟's Despite me "only" giving this book a rating of 3.5 stars, I completely understand why it is considered a masterpiece. The reasoning behind my rating is the writing style - which just so happens to also be the thing that makes this novel so special and unforgettable. The fact that the author was able to be consistent with this made-up dialect throughout the entire work, seriously needs to be admired. For me, however, it was quite hard to get into the book and stay focused du Actual rating: 3.5 🌟's Despite me "only" giving this book a rating of 3.5 stars, I completely understand why it is considered a masterpiece. The reasoning behind my rating is the writing style - which just so happens to also be the thing that makes this novel so special and unforgettable. The fact that the author was able to be consistent with this made-up dialect throughout the entire work, seriously needs to be admired. For me, however, it was quite hard to get into the book and stay focused due to the language that's used. I got more comfortable the more I read, but considering that this is also a rather short book, I can say that I had trouble during most of it. The actual topic is amazing; I definitely enjoyed the plot and felt connected to the main character Alex. I think the fact that I was able to get a good idea of what Alex was thinking and feeling, despite the reading-struggles I experienced, speaks volumes. It proves that a book doesn't need to be one hundred percent understandable to make an impact. A that's why I would recommend to everyone to read this book at least once, regardless of my star-rating.

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