Book review: A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange Anthony Burgess
Review of Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange
It was 2005 when I first read A Clockwork Orange. I was 17, and my best friend Marie was studying it for her drama A level. Immediately, I was captivated. The innovative use of language, the dystopian future, the themes of morality and ethics all drew me in and it instantly became one of my all-time favourite books. However, I recently realised that it had been a good few years since I'd read it, and I'd lost my copies (I had two at one point), so I repurchased it and set about reimmersing myself within the land of Alex and his droogs.

The most striking thing about this book is that it is written entirely in Nadsat- a fictional teenage slang, which borrows words from Slavic languages, Cockney rhyming slang, Shakespearean dialogue and budding youth language of the time. Alex, the 15 year old narrator, sometimes explains what these words mean, but a lot of the time you are left to work it out for yourself. It's a lot less difficult than it sounds. Just go with it and, if you don't understand a word, let it go over your head. It will probably make sense later. For me, this is the real magic of A Clockwork Orange. Burgess plays with language in a way that few had attempted before and creates a real sense of immersion in Alex's world. In fact, I perhaps absorbed too much, as I found myself thinking in Nadsat on a few occasions over the next couple of days! 
Extract of A Clockwork Orange
Set in the near future, A Clockwork Orange is told in a time when violent youth own the streets, drug use thrives in special milkbars and corrupt police make up their own rules. Alex, the surprisingly cultured leader of his gang, feels invincible and this inevitably leads to some mistakes on his part. This is when we're led to the question of ethics- Is it better for a man to choose to be bad, or to be forced to be good? Is a man who has no choice in the matter really a good person?

Ultimately, for me, the novel is a tale of time- Of the endless cycle of life and the world, of the inevitability of time (remember how much I loved that in The Great Gatsby?) and the inability of humans to stop it passing. 
A Clockwork Orange cover design
This is one of my desert island books; A book I could read over and over again, and never fail to marvel at. I absolutely love it and think everybody should read it. 

 Buy A Clockwork Orange here

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  1. I've not really heard much of what this is about before but I'm actually really intrigued now, it sounds like just my cup of tea! Thanks for sharing :)

    Jess xo

  2. I read this book right after reading The Great Gatsby. Both brilliant!

  3. Love this book. One of my faves <3 x

  4. I'm so glad I'm not the only person who starts to think in the style of the book they are reading :)

    You have the same version as me, but in the american version the book ends when he gets out of the hospital (trying not to spoil it...) and misses off the last part - which if you ask me is the whole point of the book. It also has a glossary of nadsat.

    The Girl Who Looks Like a Cake

    1. I've heard that about the American one. It's crazy!

  5. One of my favourites too, if the American version leaves out the end of the book then it ruins the point. Film sucks though xox

    1. I know. It's stupid! I preferred the film when I watched it recently but still the book is better

  6. I've always had this on my list but have just never gotten round to reading it. I remember my friend reading it last year and I was trying to help her make sense of a few words aha. I will have to read it soon!


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