"A Clockwork Orange" is the daring and electrifying book by Anthony Burgess that inspired one of the most notorious films ever made, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence'. In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a ...
"A Clockwork Orange" is the daring and electrifying book by Anthony Burgess that inspired one of the most notorious films ever made, beautifully repackaged as part of the Penguin Essentials range. 'What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence'. In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him - but at what cost? Social prophecy? Black comedy? Study of freewill? A "Clockwork Orange" is all of these. It is also a dazzling experiment in language, as Burgess creates a new language - 'nadsat', the teenage slang of a not-too-distant future. "Every generation should discover this book". ("Time Out"). "A gruesomely witty cautionary tale". ("Time"). "Not only about man's violent nature and his capacity to choose between good and evil. It is about the excitements and intoxicating effects of language". ("Daily Telegraph"). "I do not know of any other writer who has done as much with language...a very funny book". (William S. Burroughs). "One of the cleverest and most original writers of his generation". ("The Times"). Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester in 1917. He studied English at Manchester University and joined the army in 1940 where he spent six years in the Education Corps. After demobilization, he worked first as a college lecturer in Speech and Drama and then as a grammar-school master before becoming an education officer in the Colonial Service, stationed in Malay and Borneo. In 1959 Burgess was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and decided to become a full-time writer. Despite being given less than a year to live, Burgess went on to write at least a book a year - including "A Clockwork Orange" (1962), "M/F" (1971), "Man of Nazareth" (1979), "Earthly Powers" (1980) and "The Kingdom of the Wicked" (1985) - and hundreds of book reviews right up until his death. He was also a prolific composer and produced many full-scale works for orchestra and other media during his lifetime. Anthony Burgess died in 1993.
I saw the movie pictures and review in Playboy magazine back when it first came out when I was young. I then saw the movie when I was much older and then wanted to read and see what differences there where in the two. The movie is basically the narration of the book except for the part with the body guard (who is David Prowse [Darth Vader]). It?s hard to understand the slang, so you should print out a copy of the translations too help with it. If you really loved the movie read the book other wise you won?t miss much. Its hard to get into so its not a good idea to start and stop.
Apr 8, 2010
the 21st chapter
I read clockwork Orange years ago and loved the slang gang talk. What I was looking for here was the 21st chapter that was not in any of the U.S. published versions.
For those who don't know, Burgess wrote the final chapter after there were reports of copycat gang violence said to be instigated by the book and movie. The final chapter is the personal conversion of Alex after he realizes the errors of his ways without help of drugs or therapy. I think it was more an attempt by Burgess to redeem himself and not Alex and that is how it reads. I recommend this version only if you would like to know more about the conscience of Burgess and not our beloved Droogie, Alex.
Apr 15, 2009
A friend recommended this book to me, and I very much enjoyed it. At first, it was difficult to follow, due to the author's way of telling the story in Nadsat (slang used by teenagers in the novel), but, after I found a glossary of the words, it was a lot easier to read. The story is powerful, perhaps even more so because of the language in which it is told; it is very provocative, and raises many moralistic questions that are prevalent in today's society. A timeless book, and one that would probably be better the second time around.
Mar 7, 2009
A magnificent book
A Clockwork Orange is a frightening and disturbing look at a world that does not yet exist, told by a narrator who speaks in a slang-filled voice. The book grabs hold of you on page one and does not let go. It is a magnificent book.
I suppose it falls under the genre heading of dystopian literature, and certainly comparisons can be drawn between A Clockwork Orange and works like 1984 or Brave New World, but Burgess's story is on a smaller scale. The dystopian society depicted in A Clockwork Orange is really the backdrop for the age old tale of growing up.
It's interesting to think that Burgess might never have written this story, which has become a literary classic, if he hadn't been wrongly diagnosed with a brain tumor. It's a strange world that we live in, perhaps just as strange as the world depicted in A Clockwork Orange.
Oct 21, 2007
Burgess wrote this novel in the slang of the future. The author chose to use a lot of Roma(Gypsy) slang. The distinctive voice of Alex draws the reader in. Alex is cruel and extremely violent. Burgess also did a fine job of turning Alex into a victim. The book is better than the movie. The last chapter is not shown in the movie and that's a shame. In the last chapter Alex comes to the realization that he has wasted his life. He does not want to be a middle aged thug and takes a good hard look at himself. He repents and is determined to change. Redemption and hope are unexpected elements in a novel concerned with violence and revenge. "ClockWork Orange" is a masterpeice.
Its nice that a dictionary is in back. Alex uses a ton of slang and while most of their uses are clear some are confusing. Looking up the words really helps the reader along.
Publishers Weekly, 2007-07-30 After his youthful adventures of raping and pillaging, Alex finds himself in prison. When he volunteers for an experiment, his sentence is commuted to two weeks. The experiment leaves him physically incapable of doing wrong and releases him back into the world. However, when he repeatedly runs into people he has wronged in the past, his real suffering begins. This audiobook gives new life to Burgess's tale of recklessly violent youth, free will and true redemption. While Malcolm McDowell forever infused viewers with the look of Alex in the film, Tom Hollander performs an even more amazing feat. With a smooth, almost lyrical, crisp voice, Hollander delivers Burgess's "nadsat" dialect to readers with such rhythmic cadence that listeners will easily understand the extensive slang used throughout the book. This unabridged production also includes the 21st chapter, which was not dramatized in the film or in the book's original U.S. publication. The audiobook opens with a brief note by Burgess on living with the book's legacy. The final CD features selected readings by Burgess from a previous recorded abridged version. While it's interesting to hear the older and gruffer voice, it does not compare to Hollander's performance. A Penguin paperback. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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