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A Clockwork Orange (Independent Banned Books #2)

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30 review for A Clockwork Orange (Independent Banned Books #2)

  1. 4 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. 5 out of 5

    Bookdragon Sean

    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.

  4. 5 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."

  5. 5 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.

  6. 4 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.

  7. 4 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 goe 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...

  8. 5 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 4 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] !!!

  11. 4 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."

  12. 4 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 نویسندگان انگلستان - 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؛ موضوع: فیلمنامه ها - سده 20 م 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 استنلی کوبریک با ترجمه: 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

  13. 5 out of 5

    Fernando

    El 2017 ha sido el año que dediqué en parte a leer varios clásicos y novelas contemporáneas que me faltaban, como “El guardián entre el centeno” de J.D. Salinger, “Robinson Crusoe” de Daniel Defoe, “El inspector” de Nikólai Gógol, “Crónica del pájaro que da cuerda al mundo” de Haruki Murakami, “La caída” de Albert Camus, “Resurrección” de Lev Tolstói, “Los viajes de Gulliver” de Jonathan Swift, “La piedra lunar” de Wilkie Collins y muy especialmente “Don Quijote de la Mancha” de Miguel de Cervan El 2017 ha sido el año que dediqué en parte a leer varios clásicos y novelas contemporáneas que me faltaban, como “El guardián entre el centeno” de J.D. Salinger, “Robinson Crusoe” de Daniel Defoe, “El inspector” de Nikólai Gógol, “Crónica del pájaro que da cuerda al mundo” de Haruki Murakami, “La caída” de Albert Camus, “Resurrección” de Lev Tolstói, “Los viajes de Gulliver” de Jonathan Swift, “La piedra lunar” de Wilkie Collins y muy especialmente “Don Quijote de la Mancha” de Miguel de Cervantes y el “Finnegans Wake” de James Joyce. Ahora agrego esta icónica novela de Anthony Burgess. Debo confesar que me ha gustado mucho leerla. Ha sido un interesante viaje el de Alex por su agitados días de adolescencia. Me imagino lo que debe haber sido leer “La naranja mecánica” en 1962, un libro que anticipó el mundo violento de hoy en el 2017, de la explosión del punk nihilista que generaron bandas como “Sex Pistols” o “The Clash” en 1977 y toda la debacle de clases sociales que se vivió en Argentina a partir de finales de la década del ’70. Es que la estrella del libro no es Alex ni las andanzas con sus amigos ni el sistema contra el que quieren luchar. Es la violencia. Esa violencia que es parte inherente de todos los seres humanos, de la eterna lucha entre el bien y el mal, de los valores trastocados, perdidos, rechazados y también de aquellos individuos que no encajan en la sociedad, que son marginales, tal vez sin proponérselo y de cómo el sistema (llámese gobierno, sistema de educación o aparato jurídico) trata de convertir lo malo en bueno fallando en gran medida por no entender nunca el asunto. Pero la violencia alcanza no sólo a Alex, sino a todos los órdenes sociales y a toda escala. A sus amigos, que lo secundan en sus fechorías, a sus padres que no lo comprenden y terminan enemistándose con él, a los directivos de ese “Centro de recuperación” bastante dudoso y clandestino en el que cae y en donde desde el Estado pretenden recuperarlo y supuestamente transformarlo en un ciudadano reformado con el propósito de reinsertarlo en la sociedad. Claro que los métodos utilizados son tan violentos como los hábitos o naturaleza de Alex y los resultados llegan a ser desastrosos. El aparato de estado quiere arreglar a un individuo que según ellos está descarriado de la manera más inadecuada y cruel. Es como combatir fuego con fuego. Los capítulos en donde le proyectan las famosas películas y en el que él describe todas las palizas que le propinan, desde que lo detiene la policía y durante su paso por la cárcel me recuerda a las que sufre Winston, el personaje principal de “1984”, la mítica novela de George Orwell. Todo está impregnado de violencia. Los medios periodísticos y el accionar oportunista de ciertos políticos, que intentan utilizarlo como ejemplo para derrocar al gobierno. Todos quieren sacar rédito de Alex. Es más, las víctimas de sus ataques anteriores intentarán aplicar la misma violencia que recibieron, como buscando reparar lo que ya no pueden. Hay que destacar la manera en la que Alex (Burgess) narra lo que sucede en esta historia, pero lo que más asombra es la pasmosa naturalidad con la que describe los distintos actos de vandalismo, caos y destrucción en las calles de una semi distópica Inglaterra, donde este personaje tan especial se divierte a sus anchas con sus amigos. Están fuera de la ley, asaltan, roban, golpean, violan y matan y todo eso está dentro de la normalidad que viven; luego vuelven a sus casas e intentan hacer una vida normal. En el caso de Alex es por demás paradójico, puesto que su pasión es la música clásica. Escucha a su querido Ludwig van Beethoven o a Mozart o Bach. Esa música inmortal es su cable a tierra, conexión con el mundo real, aunque es lógico que algo no está bien. Podemos entender el estado de efervescencia que los años de adolescente producen en las personas pero en el caso de Alex eso va mucho más allá. Él es uno de esos personajes tan especiales en la literatura. Personajes que no encajan en ningún molde. Se puede citar algunos: Holden Cauldfield en “El guardián entre el centeno”, Mersault de “El extranjero” o Ignatius Reilly en “La conjura de los necios”. En Argentina podríamos incluir dos de Ernesto Sábato: Fernando Vidal Olmos, ese oscuro y lunático personaje de “Informe sobre ciegos” o Juan Pablo Castel, el asesino dostoievskiano de la novela “El túnel”. Esta novela choca también al lector desde el plano lingüístico, dado que Burgess crea el famoso vocabulario adolescente “nadsat”, una jerga o lunfardo en el que Alex y sus amigos reemplazas determinadas palabras o acciones por términos tomados del idioma ruso y aggiornados a su lenguaje. De esta manera, por dar algunos de ejemplos, "golová" significa cabeza, "tolchoco", golpe, "litso" significa rostro y así sucesivamente para muchas otras palabras más. Confieso que al principio me costó un poco de esfuerzo retener todos estos términos (parecía un dejá-vú del Finnegans Wake cuando comencé a leer las primeras páginas), pero una vez que uno se acostumbra al vocabulario, la lectura se torna muy fluida. Desde el punto de vista del lenguaje es más que interesante, puesto que significa un desafío para el traductor llevar estos términos a su propio idioma. Para aquellos que aún no hayan leído esta novela, vaya una pequeña muestra de cómo es el lenguaje nadsat: "Tienes que comprender el tolchoco en la rota, Lerdo. Era la música. Me pongo besuño cuando un veco interfiere en el canto de una ptitsa. Ya entiendes." Cambiando los términos nadsat, la frase quedaría así: "Tienes que comprender el golpe en la boca, Lerdo. Era la música. Me pongo loco cuando un tipo interfiere en el canto de una chica. Ya entiendes." En el prólogo del libro y bajo recomendación de un lector de goodreads al cual le agradezco, porque dice que hay que leerlo al final ya que sin quererlo, Burgess genera el spoiler, el autor se queja en cierta medida en cómo le cambió cierto sentido a la lectura del libro en todo aquel que haya visto primero la película de Stanley Kubrick. Burgess nunca estuvo muy de acuerdo con eso, ya que él sostiene que escribió la novela dividiéndola exactamente en tres partes de 7 capítulos cada uno, o sea 21 (y explica que el sentido era que la suma diera 21, puesto que ese número corresponde a la mayoría de edad), pero los editores de la versión norteamericana, quitaron ese último capítulo ya que ese final es totalmente opuesto al del capítulo 6 de la edición británica. Aquí entramos en el gusto de cada lector, puesto que a unos les agradará más la primera forma y otros elegirán la segunda opción, la del famoso capítulo 21. Burgess escribió y eligió el suyo y le sobran los motivos para dicha elección. Kubrick, como era de esperar, termina la película exactamente igual a la versión americana. Yo me quedo con el capítulo 21, el de la edición original, entonces, cuando comencemos a discutir acerca de cuál es el mejor final, parodiaremos la primera frase de esta novela: "Y ahora qué pasa, ¿eh?"

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 4 out of 5

    F

    Love! Love the language used and getting used to that

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 5 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!

  20. 4 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.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Maria Clara

    Pues al final me ha gustado más de de que esperaba. El gran problema que he tenido con este libro (aparte del glosario) es que odio la violencia y más si es gratuita.

  22. 5 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.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Parthiban Sekar

    How many times in a day do we hear Be-Yourself, I-am-what-I-am, and all those statutory reminders calling upon our self-control, decision-making, and ever-active inner agent which is none other than the entity that makes us us? When we grow up, we are all constantly being told or reminded or warned to find our own place in the society, not to get lost in the crowd, and most importantly, to be/become what we always want to be/become. And it is the choices we make during moral dilemmas diversifi How many times in a day do we hear Be-Yourself, I-am-what-I-am, and all those statutory reminders calling upon our self-control, decision-making, and ever-active inner agent which is none other than the entity that makes us us? When we grow up, we are all constantly being told or reminded or warned to find our own place in the society, not to get lost in the crowd, and most importantly, to be/become what we always want to be/become. And it is the choices we make during moral dilemmas diversifies us into the good and the bad (I am going to keep the ugly out of this discussion, dear brothers!). Does making bad choices make the one who made the choice bad? or make the one who found it bad, good? Nevertheless it is the self, our object of consciousness makes those choices. So, who should be blamed as our very own selves are in question, morality or almighty? "Badness is of the self, the one, the you or me on our own, and that self is made by old God and is his great pride and joy. But the not-self cannot have the bad, meaning they of the government and the judges and the schools cannot allow the bad because they cannot allow the self. And is not our modern history, my brothers, the story of brave little selves fighting these big machines?" Burges tries to answer the above question through the unspeakable predatory acts and the disheartening human-conditioning experiences of his hero Alex who, once, was a brutal savage teenage gangster, and later, becomes a pawn in political struggle, a victim of government tyranny, and a Guinea Pig in an human conditioning experiment. Alex, in this story, has seen the sorrowful image of the holy bearded veck all nagoy hanging on the cross and he strongly believes that we all are capable of doing evil as much as he is. Within every man, is both the powerful surge toward the good because we are made in the image of God, and the darker impulses toward evil because of the effects of Original Sin. Alex empathetically addresses his distant brothers, the readers, and asks that whether it is not the mere choice of every individual to be good or bad, let alone the dark impulses and consciousness. Violence makes violence “Delimitation is always difficult. The world is one, life is one. The sweetest and most heavenly of activities partake in some measure of violence – the act of love, for instance; music, for instance.” Isn't there the evidence of violence from the time immemorial? We had waged and seen all kinds of wars, be it holy or civil or worldly. Our efforts to end violence has not turned out to be fruitful yet. Perhaps, it is really the question of moral choice, then. Leaving us with this question, Alex ends up in the prison and gets chosen for a novel experiment to cure the bad and eliminate the wrong. It is quite confounding to say what happens to him after that possibly-debilitating, will-sapping, and hideous experiment, to which doctors say that he positively responded - like a clockwork, Alex claims himself to be. Is high art civilizing? “Great Music, it said, and Great Poetry would like quieten Modern Youth down and make Modern Youth more Civilized.” Don't we all resort to some form of art to satiate our souls and please ourselves when troubled? The notion that art humanizes and unites us is commonly prevalent among us. Art keeps evolving as the man does, and the new forms of art are springing up like mushrooms after the rain. Art and Morality are closely connected: any form of art we appreciate has some significant impact and influence over us. Little do we realize that same art form or any other can aggravate our impulses and make us violent. Because, it makes us feel at home, gives us the power we dream of, and unleashes our dark demons which lurk beneath us. Well, there are other art forms which are unimaginably intimidating, making us wonder whether the so-called arts are aesthetic or artistic defects. Alex, being an ardent aficionado of Beethoven, Mozart and all, says that music sharpens him and makes him feel all powerful. “Goodness comes from within. Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.” The main argument of the book is “Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?” In other words, "Is it better for a man to be bad than to be conditioned to be good?" Lets not forget that the desire to answer the above questions positively comes with certain negative consequences, only if you can imagine: How many beasts and demons we have tamed in the name of law, religion, and other holds we have enforced on them. “It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate. Life is sustained by the grinding opposition of moral entities.” However, finding ourselves impaled upon the horns of a dilemma of choosing between right and wrong is, sometimes, going to be inevitable. May the force be with all of us to fight against them... Must-Read for all!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Francesca

    This book is incredible. The themes of the story are still as relevant as they were then. Ethics, morality, choice, are still important topics that are discussed regularly throughout life. I'm aware of the controversial nature of this book due to the violence that takes place but after reading it, I can't help but wonder if part of the reason it was banned was due to the probably (sadly and worryingly) quite accurate depiction of governments. This is a very thought-provoking read. The character o This book is incredible. The themes of the story are still as relevant as they were then. Ethics, morality, choice, are still important topics that are discussed regularly throughout life. I'm aware of the controversial nature of this book due to the violence that takes place but after reading it, I can't help but wonder if part of the reason it was banned was due to the probably (sadly and worryingly) quite accurate depiction of governments. This is a very thought-provoking read. The character of Alex is an incredibly interesting one. I hated him. I genuinely hated him but I was still intrigued and fascinated by him. The crimes he's committed are horrific and terrible but then he gets put through a torture of his own. Now, at this point, some people would probably be cheering for this and glad that he's suffering but some people (myself included) wouldn't agree with it, even though we'd still hate him for what he did. This is where the ethics and personal beliefs and morals come into it. The whole story makes you question your own thoughts, your own views, but ultimately you end up finding out more about yourself while reading it. This was very nearly a 5 star read for me. The only thing that let it down was the ending. I actually got angry at the ending because it felt like such a lazy cop out way of trying to end the story. It tries to redeem a character that I believe to be unredeemable. Alex is still a terrible human being. Yes, by the end of it, he has been through a lot of horrible and torturous things himself but he remained a vile person throughout it all anyway so by making the ending that (view spoiler)[ he just decides he's too old and is now bored of the violence so won't do it anymore and will instead get married and have kids (hide spoiler)] is, in my opinion, a load of crap. That wouldn't happen. Also, to blame the violence on (view spoiler)[ youth and being young (hide spoiler)] is a massive pile of BS. The story had strong, interesting, thought-provoking points throughout the story and then it was ruined with a rushed, lazy ending. Now, if the excuse used, is supposed to be making a satirical point about (view spoiler)[ how the media, the government, and adults view youth and the young (hide spoiler)] then fine, it's a clever point to make. However, if that was the point, it still wasn't executed well and therefore I felt that it fell flat.

  25. 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.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Justin

    Below is a stream of consciousness report of each part of the book: Part 1: What the hell?! People actually like this book. Like, this is considered one of the best books of the twentieth century by real people? Is anything really going to happen or is this guy and his droogs just going to wander the streets committing random acts of violence? Thank God the violence is depicted with these silly words to make it more cartoonish and silly, but, man, this... this is insane. Oh wait, a malchick isn't Below is a stream of consciousness report of each part of the book: Part 1: What the hell?! People actually like this book. Like, this is considered one of the best books of the twentieth century by real people? Is anything really going to happen or is this guy and his droogs just going to wander the streets committing random acts of violence? Thank God the violence is depicted with these silly words to make it more cartoonish and silly, but, man, this... this is insane. Oh wait, a malchick isn't a woman. Malchicks are guys. Got it. OK, wait a minute... wait a minute... there is a plot developing here all of a sudden, okay, awesome, great, hey this really isn't so bad after all. I see what's going on here. And, you know, those scenes of violence weren't really all that bad. I mean, they were bad, but it's just a book. It's all just kind of silly and fun and not real. It's dystopian fiction, alright? Alright, alright, alright. Matthew McConaughey. The first season of True Detective was so awesome. Part 2: Ahhhh! What what is this stuff?! Why are they making him... spoiler... Part 3: Nice plot twists, bringing some stuff back up, kinda full circle here. I like the way this ended, the real ending, not the leave-the-last-chapter-out-for-those-gun-loving-Americans ending. And now I finally know what all the slang words mean! I should read this again so I completely get it this time! Why didn't I read this book in high school when everyone else did? Why am I even reading it now? Why doesn't my Overdrive app ever give me better books to choose from? I like Doritos just as much as the next guy (malchick!) but I don't like this empty feeling they give me inside.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

    “I believe that we should read only those book that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not rouse us with a blow to the head, then why read it? Because it will make us happy, you tell me? My God, we would also be happy if we had no books, and the books that make us happy we could, if necessary, write ourselves. What we need are books that affect us like some really grievous misfortune, like the death of one whom we loved more than ourselves, as if we were banished to distant forests “I believe that we should read only those book that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not rouse us with a blow to the head, then why read it? Because it will make us happy, you tell me? My God, we would also be happy if we had no books, and the books that make us happy we could, if necessary, write ourselves. What we need are books that affect us like some really grievous misfortune, like the death of one whom we loved more than ourselves, as if we were banished to distant forests, away from everybody, like a suicide; a book must be the ax for the frozen sea within us." -Franz Kafka And what a powerful ax A Clockwork Orange is.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alex Farrand

    Let me start off that this book has been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, since my husband came back from California a few years ago. He hasn't even read the book, but insisted on having it. I guess Heath Ledger read this book to figure out how to play the Joker. By and by curiosity has struck me into reading it. Well this book is horribly good. I was between 4 and 5 stars, but the violence made me cringe. Which is a good thing to make a book so vivid in the writing, but mentally I was not prepar Let me start off that this book has been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, since my husband came back from California a few years ago. He hasn't even read the book, but insisted on having it. I guess Heath Ledger read this book to figure out how to play the Joker. By and by curiosity has struck me into reading it. Well this book is horribly good. I was between 4 and 5 stars, but the violence made me cringe. Which is a good thing to make a book so vivid in the writing, but mentally I was not prepared. This a mentally hard book. I can see why, (if Heath Ledger read the book), this book can make you feel crazy. My god, what a crazy book. I really did want to toss the book across the room and cower away. I dreamt about it the next night and was frightened. It really makes you think about your morals, and having the freedom to choose right and wrong. This book is really deep. I read somewhere (I don't recall where though) that this book was written after his wife was raped. If it is true, you can feel how angry Mr. Burgess was at these men at the beginning. As the reader, you hate them with all the passion in the world. Then the story becomes softer. You are not as angry, but feel bad for the main character. Forgiveness? You still despise the main character don't get me wrong because you can never forget what he did. But you feel sorry for him. I am just going to say I liked the ending, and I can understand why Mr. Burgess ended how he did. I do recommend, if you want to read it, use the appendix from Wikipedia to decipher the slang words used in the book. It took a long time in deciphering the text, but I wouldn't have it written in plain English for the life of me. It was perfectly written. Second, read the introduction. I knew the title had some sort of meaning, but I didn't know it was a common saying in Britain. So, I was trying to figure it out in the book, until I read the intro. He explains the meaning of the saying Clockwork Orange, which helps understand the book. Also, I guess there are copies with 20 chapters instead of 21, make sure you get the 21 chapter book. All and all a very good book.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jaya

    Reaction after an almost re -read I watched th film wayyyyy back before I read the book 2 years ago. For me reading the book was more harrowing than watching the film (Malcolm McDowell *wink wink nudge nudge*) there are certain parts that I still go back and re read. While I never sympathised with Alex's behaviour or situation, I couldn't help but liking him to some extent. His character just grew on me as the book progressed. And that left me more disturbed than anything! :D The musical references Reaction after an almost re -read I watched th film wayyyyy back before I read the book 2 years ago. For me reading the book was more harrowing than watching the film (Malcolm McDowell *wink wink nudge nudge*) there are certain parts that I still go back and re read. While I never sympathised with Alex's behaviour or situation, I couldn't help but liking him to some extent. His character just grew on me as the book progressed. And that left me more disturbed than anything! :D The musical references were an added bonus :) **** Phewwwww....

  30. 5 out of 5

    Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

    **DISCLAIMER: If you HAVE NOT seen the movie, there will be spoilers** There is a darkness in the world. For the most part that darkness is kept locked down, chained within the breast of the beast, forced to co-exist with and focus on the goodness. Whether this be by fear of reperucission or a personal desire to force it away depends on the person it lives within. Sometimes the chains, the rules and the fear are not enough. Sometimes the beast wins it's freedom into the world. In Anthony Burgess' **DISCLAIMER: If you HAVE NOT seen the movie, there will be spoilers** There is a darkness in the world. For the most part that darkness is kept locked down, chained within the breast of the beast, forced to co-exist with and focus on the goodness. Whether this be by fear of reperucission or a personal desire to force it away depends on the person it lives within. Sometimes the chains, the rules and the fear are not enough. Sometimes the beast wins it's freedom into the world. In Anthony Burgess's A Clockwork Orange that beast has a name, it's name is Alex. Alex delights in all things heinous. He glories in blood, filth, degradation and rape. Alex is fifteen. This novel is absolutely disgusting, horrifying and vile on every level. The movie, with it's in your face violence and horror pales compaired to the nausea inducing entiry of the novel. Where the movie is extremely unsettling, the story it's based off of is terrifying. Part I Chapter 4 is the single most heinous act - in my opinion - of the entire novel. I have to appreciate and understand it's omission from the movie as it is not something I would EVER want to see committed to film. Burgess's teenage slang used liberally within the novel has a duel action effect which works incredibly well for impact. Firstly, it provides a gloss like a veener over the horrors committed within these pages. Once it has lulled you into complacency it jumps out and wallops you right between the eyes. The bond of language is a strong force and Burgess uses this knowledge with an ability like a finely sharpened knife to a keen and precise endgame. By forcing you to think in Alex's voice and language he also forces you out of your own emotional comfort level. The book is told in three parts with an unsettling wheel effect. The movie, however, is only of the first two parts with the third omitted. I'm not sure why that choice was made perhaps the loop itself would have been too startling on film? Just as a stalker behind the wheel of a car with only 2/3rds of an engine can scare and disturb you, so the movie does likewise. The novel, however, is the stalker with a perfect engine... the stalker who can follow you home, creep into your room and watch you while you sleep.

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