A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess, Book Review

To be honest, I have no idea where I first heard about A Clockwork Orange. It may have been from someone in my grade twelve writing class, but I can’t be sure. All I know is that the title had stuck itself in my brain and I had become fixed on buying a copy of this book to read as soon as I possibly could. In typical fashion, I bought the book and about a year later I convinced myself to read it. Once I finished reading, I was actually mad at myself for letting A Clockwork Orange sit on my shelf for that long without giving it some love.
In short, A Clockwork Orange tells the story of Alex, a teenage boy in a futuristic society. He and a group of his friends spend their time going around and torturing the innocent – mugging, attacking, raping, any for which he is in the mood that night. Everything is simply fun and games until he gets caught and the government begins testing on him while he’s locked up by using technology in order to brainwash him and try to make him “normal”.
Aside from the story being a fabulous kind of twisted 1984-style plot line, my favourite thing about A Clockwork Orange is Burgess’s writing. In order to capture the futuristic society he was hoping for, Burgess created a language that is a cross between Russian and English. I always find it intriguing when an author makes their own language; it goes to show how dedicated they are to making their world something special.
It takes a while to understand, but once you get used to the language, you can start to pick out what certain words mean, and by the end, you’ll find that meaning just falls into place. I would be amazed if I could come up with something as detailed and inspired as this novel.
If you have yet to read A Clockwork Orange, I would definitely suggest that you do. Though I wouldn’t recommend it to the weak; you will get frustrated in the beginning, but if you can make it to a point where you can grasp at least a little bit of what is going on, I promise you won’t be able to put it down easily.
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