The novel by Anthony Burgess was released in the 1960s and is not considered a classic and essential read. It may then be surprising that I’ve only read it now, despite it having a place on my reading list for at least four years now.
The novel follows protagonist Alex’s fall from grace, reformation, and the aftermath of his “change”. Quite Orwellian in nature, the novel centers on disobedience and governmental control.
A Clockwork Orange is difficult to get into at first as Alex speaks in “Nadsat” which is teenage slang, that is influenced by Russian. At the start it’s very difficult to get into and understand, but you pick up some of the words as you go on. The language is used in such a way that you understand what is actually happening but the specifics or dialogue isn’t very clear, I’d recommend looking up the Nadsat dictionary and checking chapter summary’s if you struggle.
What I found interesting what that people were adamant that I shouldn’t read The Catcher in the Rye, which is one of my favourite books but a Clockwork Orange was much more violent, and disturbing. In fact, nothing in The Catcher in the Rye disturbed me, I was just mildly irritated by Holden at the end of it.
If death, sexual assault, and violence bother you then this absolutely is not the book for you. I found it difficult to read and Alex was by far the most volatile protagonist I think I’ve ever come across. I haven’t seen the movie, but if it’s true to the novel then I probably won’t watch it.
Although not an easy read, I still think it’s a cautionary tale and calls ethics into play. It came out in the 1960s but is still relevant today. Do we rob people of agency for the greater good? Or live in anarchy?