Books · Reviews

Book Thoughts: A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)

Burgess, Anthony - A Clockwork Orange


Title: A Clockwork Orange
Author: Anthony Burgess
Genre: Fiction / Dystopian
First published: 1962
Edition: Paperback, published by Penguin Classics in 2000

I was apprehensive to say the least when I started this modern classic. I was put off after plenty of warnings regarding the violence and the unusual language used in this novel, perhaps these days best known for the Stanley Kubrick cult classic movie adaptation. I have not seen the movie, so I could not comment on how accurate it is.

However, as far as the book goes, I actually thought it was pretty brilliant. The language is odd and at first I found it jarring. However,  after a few chapters I got the rhythm of the words and their meaning started to filter through into my subconscious. I actually started to marvel at the way Burgess used language and how these unfamiliar words quite easily begot meaning. From then on I never found it hard to establish what the unfamiliar words meant and that is a pretty hard thing for a writer to do. Throughout I found myself wondering how he had actually managed to do just that.

I certainly would not want to live in the world that Burgess portrays in his most famous book. It appears bleak and awfully dangerous! But to Alex, our humble narrator, that world is normal and he lives his life the only way he knows. Despite the despicable things Alex does, he is not an all-out unlikeable character. Instead you find him a product of his surroundings, surviving any way he can, growing up in a world where violence is everyday and brutal.

Parts were pretty disturbing and of course the normalizing of violence and rape is quite revolting, but I suppose that is partly the point of this book. These things are not normal and should never be. None of us would want to live in a world where it is so.

I did not expect to like this book as much as I did, especially considering how violent it is, but I am really glad I finally read it and I would recommend everyone to do the same.

6 out of 7 stars

2 thoughts on “Book Thoughts: A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)

  1. I read this a few years ago, and i struggled a bit with the language. But overall i enjoyed itba lot and found it so different to what i normally read.

    1. Same goes for me, though I got used to the language after a few chapters. It is definitely much grittier than what I would normally reach for.

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