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Reviews of Clockwork Orange, a (1962)

Review by siam (2010-02-01)
I just got done with this book and thought that it was one of the best reads ever because it left me saying to myself should I feel sorry for alex or hate him but that is not the point of the story. The author is talking about crime and rehabilitation and also about a future where gangs and criminals take over at night.

(This review refers to the 1962 version titled “A Clockwork Orange”)

Review by islander255 (2007-07-14)
Okay, so most people have thoroughly analyzed and praised this novel as a "brilliant" work and a "visionary" idea. True, true, all true, to the utmost! This book a collegiate favorite, and is likely to be pounced upon by all college freshmen for its edgy reputation (at least, that's how my older sister ironically defined "collegiate").

But really, this book isn't JUST some high work of literature that you analyze and speak seriously about (though, believe me, you can!). This is a truly engrossing and fun novel to read! Though initially difficult to get through, the Nadsat language is so exhilarating that you'll want to speak in it for many days after finishing the last chapter! And who can't help but love Burgess's candid and satirically-flippant approach to the ultraviolence that is featured in his novel?

The storyline is simple--Alex does wrong, goes to jail, and is reconditioned, but at what price?--but the message is amazingly and deliciously deep! Though this slim volume is almost short enough to count as a novella, the characters in it are so real you feel that they could be in your own life.

Oh, I could sing the praises of this novel forever! When I read it, I squee like a fangirl (though, in my case, perhaps I should say "fanboy"). This isn't just some collegiate prose--this is something to be diehard over! Something to sticker over your school folders and to dress up in during Halloween. Buy the book, buy the movie, buy the movie's soundtrack, go out and read MORE Anthony Burgess (I recommend "Earthly Powers")!

Quick note: I don't know if anyone's addressed this, but isn't it interesting how the Nadsat language, used by all the teenage hooligans, is derived from Russian. This book, written in the Cold War years, just might have been taking an oblique stab at Communism. Interesting thought; hold on to it!

Okay, I've gone on long enough. If you haven't read this book, get to reading! IMMEDIATELY!! Oh, and afterwards make sure to watch Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece adaptation. Both the book and movie are my all-time favorites.

10/10--oh, if only I could give it an 11+/10!

Review by lux (2007-03-26)
One of the most difficult aspects of this books, the infusion of the made-up futuristic teen dialogue 'nadsat', is also one of its greatest. It can be off-putting initially but once you get into it the whole book is brilliant. Alex, the narrator, is an endlessly fascinating character. It is many times better than the film version.

Review by nesquick888 (2007-01-07)
When I began the book I thought I knew what I was getting into. A horrific, sinical story about a young gangster named Alex. I knew this from seeing the movie. I began to read this "nadsat" language and immediatly wanted to put the book down. After about two chapters I began to catch on and the story began to engulf me. The movie gave me a great visual reference but the book gave me every thought of this very ruthless, terrozing character named Alex. This book gave me chills in some of the horrific seens when Alex and his "droogs" went to work. At one point in the book I felt sorry for this character thinking this is very improbable because of his acts. And at the end he even gave me some laughs with his responses to the cards. I loved this book and if you can stick through the first couple of chapters you will catch on to the language.

Review by drache_gnar (2006-02-21)
A Clockwork Orange is an interesting and brilliant piece of fiction.
Burgess' use of language is so interesting and original that it alone is reason enough to read the book.
The narrator, Alex, is a young roughneck whom learns the hardway about society's need for order.

Recomended, if you enjoy interesting, yet odd, use of language.

Review by mrdude (2005-02-11)

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is the classic tale of a grim and terrifying future from the eyes of no other than your Humble Narrator Alex, a fifteen year old boy.

The book is written in a first person narrative, the narrator being the main character, Alex. Alex is a fifteen year old boy and leader of a gang. He and most of his gang members speak in a slang that Burgess created himself, basing it most of of Russian words. This can be frustrating at first because the slang is used so much that it is very difficult for one to understand anything, but I have heard some copies have a glossary in the back and I myself found a website with all the definitions of the words. So although one has to check back every few sentences at first, the slang really does add to the character development, emphasising how deranged and violent these people are( Within a few chapters I had leaned nearly all the words). Aside from the slang the writing was phenomenal, if one is able to get through all the "nadsat" (which is what the slang is commonly called), really descriptive writing lies underneath. I believe at one point in the novel I was convinced that Burgess must be a poet, because the text was flowing so well despite the grotesque words within.

The story itself was quite controversial for it's time. It was supposed to be a look at an unlikely but gruesome future, where violence runs rampant. I did not find it as horrifying myself as I anticipated from opinions of the book I had heard from teachers and my parents, but I believe that much of the things that were viewed as inconceivable at the time, 1962, have either occurred or simply do not seem as outlandish now days. That aside the book is still exciting and quite graphic. Very interesting, and as of yet, unanswered questions come up throughout the book. For those who worry that the book is dated and may not be applicable in our current times, I would argue that not only does it still have redeemable qualities, but many of them now are more evident to our generation simply because we are less overwhelmed by the premise of the novel.

All and all a great book, well worth the read by nearly anyone I can imagine.

(Review also posted at the IBDoF)

Review by Zacynthus (2004-09-19)
I found this a bit difficult to get into at first because of the language (It is written in the slang of the future, "nasdat"). However once I really sunk my teeth into it I found it gripping and intensely disturbing. It is a poignant novel that gave me chills.

Review by Jago360 (2004-03-27)
Centering on the exploits of a young thug (or "droog"), Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" is a brilliant social commentary, as well as an effective warning for the future The novel deals with many issues - the inclination towards violence inherent in human nature, the validity of free will, the power of government, the corruption of art, and the maturation of one's mind.

Despite containing so many weighty issues, the book never gets at all preachy. The diction, incorporating many Russian and imaginary words into its "Nadsat" slang, has a definite edge to it, and the bluntness of the events in the book is almost shocking (and was surely more so when it was released). Make sure to read the original British version - not the American or Kubrick version, which cuts the narrative short prematurely - otherwise one of Burgess's main points, that of human maturation, is lost.

Review by nui6882 (2003-07-19)
A dark, dystopian novel, A Clockwork Orange is a laboratory for linguistic experiments. Narrated in a future slang by Alex, the protagonist, the novel concerns the "rehabilitation" of criminals and the triumph of the human spirit when the rehabilitation fails. It asks questions regarding free will of the individual as opposed to the safety of a society. An interesting philosophical question handled in an interesting way.

Review by flagman (2003-03-08)
The thing that strikes me the most when I read A Clockwork Orange is the language. Burgess' thorough use of Nadsat slang establishes an atmosphere that makes his unsettling view of the future that much more genuine. The story itself is haunting, and it is a must-read for anyone who is a fan of modern literature.

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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