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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In short: wow
It's been quite a while since a book has impressed me so much. I didn't want to read it at first - it is, alongside Kubrick's film, infamous for its depiction of violence and brutality. Not really my sort of thing. But I picked it up idly one day and, once I'd started reading, found I couldn't stop.

The novel is set in a strange, dystopian future and focusses...
Published on 7 Aug 2005 by Kolobok

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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't agree more with Mr Satire
Well written, interesting and challenging. But anyone who believes this to be the book of the twentieth century has obviously not being reading very much. A cursory glance at "1984", or "Brighton Rock", or virtually anything else would disavow them of that notion. Still, good work Burgess.
Published on 4 Aug 1999


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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In short: wow, 7 Aug 2005
It's been quite a while since a book has impressed me so much. I didn't want to read it at first - it is, alongside Kubrick's film, infamous for its depiction of violence and brutality. Not really my sort of thing. But I picked it up idly one day and, once I'd started reading, found I couldn't stop.

The novel is set in a strange, dystopian future and focusses on the character of Alex, our 15 year old anti-hero, who spends his free time indulging in ultra-violence, theft, rape and classical music. What's amazing is how Burgess gradually makes the reader become so sympathetic to his 'hero'. Alex is bright, witty, defiant; openly confiding his thoughts and feelings to his audience - his "brothers". When the state locks him up and starts altering him with the morally dodgy "Ludovico Technique" one can't help but side with him against his 'doctors'.

Part of the book's genius is the fact it's so beautifully written and laid out. Burgess's surreal use of language is incredibly ingenious. He creates the wonderful 'nadsat' slang spoken by Alex and his friends (or 'droogs') through a combination of Russian and different styles of English. As a student of Russian, part of the fun was deciphering the words and sentences and every now and then exclaiming 'aha!' as meaning suddenly slotted into place.

Ultimately, this thought-provoking novel left me with lots to muse about. Questions on morality, society and, most importantly, an individual's free choice are brought up and it's left to the reader to ultimately decide what s/he thinks. The book jacket described this novel as 'one that every generation should read'. I really couldn't agree more.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars jeremysole@hotmail.com, 14 July 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Paperback)
A Clockwork Orange what can i say. Such a compelling read, a world of ultra violence and moloko, such a life Alex and his Droogs lead. I read the book before i witnessed the movie, the book has a great blend of russian vocab and britsh slang. this can be quite off-putting to a to a person who doesn't know anything about "Clockwork" but soon enough the language has you in its grip and you feel you have known it all your life. I can imagine living a life such as Alex's, of violence, rape and drugs. But the torment of his actions soon take toll on him, forced to undergo treatment of the most horrifying, condoned by the government. Coming back from this harsh but somewhat justified treatment, his friends betray him and his unsatifactory existence is nothing more that bruises and broken bones. Overall a great book and movie, i wish you a happy night, O my brothers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange - Making You Tick, 5 Jan 2003
By 
Miss Samantha Mitschke (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly, let me just say that Burgess' invention of "futuristic teenage slang" 'nadsat' is, if a little draining at times, brilliantly used. Once you've established the various meanings (i.e. viddy means see, gulliver means head etc)you can really start to get into it. The use of nadsat whilst describing violence means that situations are portrayed in such a way as to inspire a certain sense of revulsion without making you want to put the book down.
It gives you an insight into a mind which rates Beethoven and Mozart up there with rape and ultra-violence, showing that a mind can be highly educated and yet at the same time still be to a degree depraved and dangerous.
I recommend this to anybody who wants a book to make them think and at the same time enjoy some good horror.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 17 Nov 2010
By 
This review is from: A Clockwork Orange (Paperback)
I loved this book. It was thought provoking and very interesting.
The way that Burgess created language at first confused me but as you continue reading you start to pick up on the language, which I found very strange but interesting. The reason I picked up this book in the first place was because a friend of mine recommended it but also because we were talking about it in one of my psychology lessons. The reason was that this book is to do with behaviorism. You wouldn't, perhaps, have thought this when first reading the back of the book but it was very thought provoking and definetely made me think.
I would definetely reccommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I am young but not for ever..., 28 Mar 2000
By A Customer
The first thing that came to my mind was Stanley Kubrick, even though i have never seen his famous movie. I just could not help it... But as i was going further through the book i found that the main character, Alex, was more than a simple character. He was the representation of a helpless youth. I must admit i suffered when reading this book, not only because of the inventive vocabulary Burgess uses but also because of the fact that i was lead to feel some sympathy towards Alex being a monster. If you like society critics then you will love this book . Highly recommended for each one of us for more than a book it is a lesson about life...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolute must read..., 24 Aug 2006
There's so much more to this book than the hype. The underlying theme about morals, violence and the imposition of a civilised society, whether there are people who are truely bad people or whether it is just a phase, whether somethings should just be accepted as part of society, or a same set of values imposed on us all. I found the book a fantastic read. I wont say it was easy, but I needn't have been concerned about not getting it, as it doesn't take long to understand the language used by Alex & co, and it helped immerse the reader (along with Burgess' description of the droogs) into his world.

Althugh I haven't seen the film, the book hasn't made me want to. I've got a vivid enough picture in my mind as to what Burgess was trying to convey, and I think my interpretation is more than enough. The book is fantastic, and stands well on it's own.
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25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Horrorshow, my brothers!, 29 Aug 2000
By A Customer
Burgess's masterpiece, and to his own dismay a confirmed cult classic. He never escaped the influence or the infamy of this book, and I doubt he ever will, even in death. Alex, the 'Beethoven-loving' central character maraudes throughout a future dystopia with his three droogs without restraint in a disturbing and gripping tale told through in the language of 'Nadsat'; a bastardized conglomeration of nonsense and English.(The language may seem a little incomprehensible at first, but don't be dissuaded, the book wouldn't be half as good without it; in a way it's what makes it so original and you soon get used to it, or should I say fluent in it. I found myself using Nadsat phraseology in my own conversations while I was reading it, just for fun).That is until he is betrayed by his droogs and imprisoned. The real message of the book then begins to appear however, and all the violence that assaults us in the first part of the book suddenly serves its purpose. While imprisoned Alex agrees to become a guinea pig in an experiment; an experiment to alter his mind, to cure him of all wicked impulses. He agrees in the hope that he will be let out of jail early, and he gets his wish. He is systematically brainwashed with aversion therapy, until he cannot willfully inflict harm on anyone without becoming violently nauseous. And so fully cured, he walks free. Then his troubles really begin, because he no longer has the ability to cope with the dystopia he previously relished for all its anarchy. He gets beaten up by his former droogs, now policemen, and is subjected to a number of encounters in which his former victims are able to take their revenge for his former deeds. Eventually he depairs and tries to kill himself, and in doing so becomes the centre of attention as the politicians try to use him to win their arguments concerning the brainwashing scheme. The book ends on a hopeful and cheery note though, a point many people forget to mention, and by the last page Alex's adventure has almost become a rite of passage.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mature fable on the passage to modern manhood, 22 Dec 2003
By 
mr_ska (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
I first read A Clockwork Orange as a teenager, and was suitably impressed. Having returned to it some (cough) years later I find much more to it. The odd language spun out by our little Alex now makes more sense. The incomprehensibility of the language and ideas of youth now seen from a different angle.
As a teenager I used the language of the time, now I find that today's teenagers use their own, different, argot. Much of it a mystery to me. Burgess created his own timeless lingo and cant for Alex and his droogs, no better, no worse than mine or that of today, but pleasantly difficult for both teenagers and adults, neatly highlighting the way we use language to divide ourselves.
I now appreciate the final chapter all the more. As a teenager the growing up of Alex seemed all too sudden. Now I realise that most of us do not really notice that we have become adult, it happens outside of our awareness, and you may very well just come to the realisation one day that you are very different to the way you used to be.
The book remains full of hope, realistic hope, that youth will not prove to be too destructive and will eventually come right, and that age will not use it's power to eradicate the freedom and joy, the vital spark, of the next generation in misguided attempts to curb the worst excesses that we were all capable of when we were ourselves young and stupid! This all the more impressive considering the events in Burgess' own life.
A truly classic fable on the passage to modern manhood, A Clockwork Orange stands the test of time well, and will doubtless continue to do so, as I don't suppose the next generation will prove any different under the surface than the present one.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This book is simply excellent, 20 July 1999
By A Customer
This book is excellent and on so many levels. The slang of the book makes it timeless and so it is as relevant now as when it was written. It also makes the book so alive and so it doesn't exist merely as words on a page. The book is also thought provoking and full of ironies. One of the ironies is that it is civilised people who are meant to listen to classical music and yet here Alex does. Tis is Burgess's response to, perhaps, the fact that the Nazi's were said to have listen to Back and read Goethe. The slang also means people read it differently and that is why there should not be a glossary. People should interpret it all their own way and should think about what they are reading and not be told what to think. It is the same as Chaucer - once you understand the language you become so immersed in the world that the author creates that you almost slip into the slang in everyday speech - much more so than if it was pure English.
The book is surely about the capacity to choose and how it is better to have the choice to be bad than being forced to be good. People choose their own path and choose to go to hell their own ways. People must be able to have a fling because that is making a choice.
The dark humour also adds to the book but it may be overshadowed by the violence.
It is something everyone should read so that they can see what a well-crafted book looks like. Also, and I hope I am not alone here, there is something about Alex that you end up sympathising and empathising with and there is something of alomst a charm (if that is the right word) about him.
A truly artful book
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great Book & Theme, But 21st Chapter Contradicts the Rest, 13 Aug 1998
By A Customer
This book is as popular as The Satanic Bible by Anton LaVey and The Long Hard Road Out of Hell by Marilyn Manson. There is something about the Dark Side that attracts and tempts us with promises of escape from the boredom in everyday life. Burgess, in his introduction to ACO, attributes this attraction to "Original Sin" and says he enjoyed ripping and raping by proxy through his protagonist, Alex. But he still had a moral point: "If one can only perform good or only perform evil, then he is a clockwork orange - meaning that he has the appearance of an organism lovely with colour and juice but is in fact only a clockwork toy to be wound up by God or the Devil or... the Almighty State." He continues: "It is as inhuman to be totally good as it is to be totally evil. The important thing is moral choice. Evil has to exist along with good, in order that moral choice may operate."
My opinion is that the first 20 chapters powerfully expound this moral point. Alex is used by Burgess to mock those who think that evil is not freely chosen but the result of a bad environment, a bad government or the devil. However, I think that the somewhat abrupt 21st chapter contradicts this moral point by having Alex associate his youth with a wind-up toy (the opposite of moral freedom).
Apart from what I perceive to be a contradictory 21st chapter, the book is excellent for its creative language and emotional presentation on the moral issue of whether conditioning, not just incarceration, can remove moral freedom. Put yourself in the victim's shoes. Would you want Alex to lose his moral freedom to torture, rape or even murder if it meant a safer society, a safer YOU? If you answer "yes," then you are in effect saying that you want your own moral freedom to choose evil removed. This raises the question of why evil (or our moral perception of evil) exists in the first place. A lot to think about here.
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A Clockwork Orange (Penguin Essentials) by Anthony Burgess (Paperback - 7 April 2011)
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