Review | A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

a_clockwork_orangeTITLE: A Clockwork Orange
: Anthony Burgess
: 1962
: Dystopian, Adult Fiction, Modern Classic
: 192

This dystopian classic is just as amazing on my second read.  It hasn’t lost any relevance since the day it was published in 1962.  

15-year-old Alex is a high school student by day and a violent gang leader by night.  He is gaoled after a break and enter gone wrong.  The prison wardens offer Alex an irresistible ultimatum – submit to a reformation experiment and get years wiped from his sentence.  The unethical nature of the experiment causes controversy – can a man without freewill be called a man at all?

A Clockwork Orange is a confronting text that demands discussion.  The questions it asks about freewill, human rights, corrupt authority, and representations of good and evil are crucial to contemporary society.  Despite horrific depictions of violence, this book is a must read for mature audiences.

Our pockets were full of deng, so there was no real need from the point of view of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood while we counted the takings and divided by four, nor to do the ultra-violent on some shivering starry grey-haired ptitsa in a shop and smecking off with the till’s guts. But, as they say, money isn’t everything – page 1

Anthony Burgess creates a vivid universe in A Clockwork Orange.   Alex’s first person narration is told in a made-up vernacular called ‘Nadsat’.  Although bizarre, this fusion of Russian-influenced words and olde-worlde English is easy to pick up and gives the book a unique flavour.  Burgess’ linguist background allows him to write with extraordinary panache.

If you haven’t read it, do yourself a favour.   A Clockwork Orange is easily one of the greatest books ever written.  

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