Published in: 1962
Edition read: Hardcover
A vicious fifteen-year-old “droog” is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick’s magnificent film of the same title.
In Anthony Burgess’s nightmare vision of the future, where 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. When the state undertakes to reform Alex—to “redeem” him—the novel asks, “At what cost?”
Wow, the language in this book is insane. I mean, I know slang, but this is insane. The slang is crazy, there was a helpful glossary at the back of my book which I didn’t find until I had FINISHED THE WHOLE THING (so annoying) but there was a lyrical quality to the slang that I really enjoyed. The feel of the book was something electric, I really enjoyed reading it, but the subject was so disturbing and I hated that I liked the character of Alex. I really still hate that I ended up liking his character. He’s a viscous 15 year old rapist and murderer – the exact kind of person that you know you hate. But there is just something about how this is written that makes you not hate Alex. I mean, you hate him, but not in a “you should burn in hell” kinda way, but in a “you suck, but not as much as I thought you would”.
I think the way that they spoke really got to me, the use of such interesting language – a mix of Russian and Slavic words, Shakespearean phrases and words (O my brother; thou), and a lot of teen angst and self-righteousness that just made everything work. Plus there’s the use of classical music throughout, Alex is so infatuated with the classical music in a way that most people never feel about music. He hates the pop music of the day, but big clashing classical symphonies, he cannot get enough of them – and I totally get that.
It’s just such an interesting book to read, I didn’t think I’d enjoy it like I did.Now I just need to see the movie adaptation, because that’s got to be insane, if it’s anything like the book was.
A Clockwork Orange rating: 7/10
Would I re-read it? Yes, I actually would.
Who would I recommend it to? anyone who has seen the movie, fans of classical novels but who aren’t easily offended.
Book depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Clockwork-Orange-Anthony-Burgess/9780241951446