A clockwork orange is in a word: disturbing.
The novel follows a short amount of time in the life of our fifteen year old narrator, Alex. Alex is the leader of a gang in a distopian future, where gangs like his oversee a reign of terror on the streets which the police force is not large enough or powerful enough to control.
During the novel, we see Alex beat up a number of people, including ripping an innocent man's teeth out, we see him steal, we see him lead a gang rape on a woman and we see him murder an old lady in her home, all from his persepctive. He is eventually arrested and put in prison, where he kills again and is put through a rigorous, experimental proccess to 'cure' him of the badness in him.
As you might expect from this little synopsis, it is a very disturbing read, especially when you consider the character committing all these atrocities is only fifteen years old. However, the fact that the story is told from Alex's view is one of the most intersting parts of this book, as first of all you'll notice he speaks in a futuristic slang, which at first is rather confusing but eventually becomes pretty easy to understand as you work out what word means what, and the language should by no means put you off buying it, indeed it should be one of the main reasons for you buying it. But also intersting is how Alex speaks in such a way of his activities as to make them sound sort of incidental, and play them down, and also when he has been arrested and feels he is being mistreated, it is written in a way as to make us feel sorry for him even though we know we shouldn't because he is a serial criminal.
The image painted of the future by Burgess is a highly disturbing one and does really make you think. The most powerful concept he raises is how far we're willing to go to enforce law and make people 'good,' and whether or not it is right to remove the choice involved in being good or bad, and how much of an infringement on a humans rights it is, no matter how bad a person they are.
Overall, it is a highly evocative, thought provoking and imaginitive piece of literature, the book is written like nothing I have ever read before and is a piece of wonderful innovation, the image of the future Burgess paints is disturbing, but fascinating at the same time, the same can be said of our 'hero' Alex, and also the issues raised are ones that are still relevant today and will truly make you think. I urge you not to be put off by the bizzare writing, which at first glance my look complex, but once you get the hang of it, it makes perfect sense and adds greatly to the book. I highly recommend this as a brilliant, innovative work of genius.