1985 Paperback – 14 Mar 2013
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An exciting, bleakly fascinating story told with enormous erudition and wit. Its indignation is blazingly imaginative, furiously vital and gives us hope (Financial Times)
The unclassifiable Mr Burgess has once more broken new ground (Kingsley Amis Observer)
There is too much which is truly excellent for anyone to ignore it (Auberon Waugh Evening Standard)
Burgess is the great postmodern storehouse of British writing - an important experimentalist; an encyclopaedic amasser, but also a maker of form; a playful comic, with a dark gloom (Malcolm Bradbury)
One of the cleverest and most original writers of his generation (The Times)
Wonderful ... I don't agree with everything Burgess writes, but the way he writes it is spectacular. It's hard to make profound ideas read so easily; Burgess does, with such artfulness that you almost forget how profound it is. It's a masterclass in everything from history and sociology to pop culture and sexuality, and breezes by like a cheery pop song. Burgess was also famed as a raconteur, and that might be the closest approximation of delight you feel reading him: you're in company with a brilliant mind who makes everything entertaining and comprehensible. (Irish Independent)
Ingenious, chilling and darkly comic, 1985 is a terrifying vision of the future by the 'great postmodern storehouse of British writing', Anthony BurgessSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The first part of the book is a measured and intelligent review of 1984. Burgess entertainingly places the book back in the time that it was written namely 1948. He provides us with a history of the UK, particuarly London post war and shows how the future which Orwell describes is merely an extension of the present view out of his window. This for me, neatly offered a context that had lingered in my head but wasn't something I had properly explored during the umpteenth times that I have read the book.
As a companion piece to 1984 this works neatly, in fact the first part of 1985 could be published as an introduction to 1984 rather than a standalone book. The question and answer approach Burgess adopts is clever and witty.
The second part of the book - the novella - was written in 1978. As a reader it would be worth considering the UK and the role of the trade unions in 1978 to place the story into the context of the time that Burgess was writing, just as Burgess did with Orwell's 1984. To understand this context it is worth allowing yourself a moment of history (read an article from the New Statesman of Sept 1975 called The Rise of the Know-Nothing Left by former Socialist and historian Paul Johnson as a starting point) to see that Burgess like Orwell was addressing a political mood of the time rather than making a generalised "rightwing" argument.Read more ›
In the 60s and 70s the Labour party was totally in thrall to the unions - that isnt a partisan view, its a fact: First Kinnock, through to Blair, that power had painfully and publicly to be wrested from the Scargills of the union leadership who absolutely beleived in 100% unionisation. The 3-day week, the Winter of Discontent were absolute reality and caused chaos for ordinary people who the Labour party were supposed to represent. So Burgess was issuing a warning about the logical result of continuing to blindly endorse radical unionist policies.
He was also issuing a clarion call to those within the Labour movement (myself, in the 80s) who were uneasy at supporting radical socialism and postmodern philosophy - what today is sometimes tagged 'PC gone mad'. Labour were losing election after election through the 1980's and early 90's for exactly that reason! So - again, burgess was proved absolutely spot on.
He is pointing out that when a party prioritisies Ideology over reality, firstly the people lose out - then, the party loses.
A fascinating read for anyone who lived through the transformation of the Labour party during the 1970s - 1990s, for anyone who is interested in politics generally. My son is now reading Politics at Uni and I had forgotten about this little gem so will be ordering it for him!Read more ›
The second part is Burgess's take on a Britain controlled by a syndicalist TUC where a union card and the closed shop is all and everyone is on strike all the time. Utter drivel, like an extended Daily Mail leader column.