1984 Nineteen Eighty-Four (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 29 Jan 2004
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Hidden away in the Record Department of the sprawling Ministry of Truth, Winston Smith skilfully rewrites the past to suit the needs of the Party. Yet he inwardly rebels against the totalitarian world he lives in, which demands absolute obedience and controls him through the all-seeing telescreens and the watchful eye of Big Brother, symbolic head of the Party. In his longing for truth and liberty, Smith begins a secret love affair with a fellow-worker Julia, but soon discovers the true price of freedom is betrayal.
About the Author
Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. His novels and non-fiction include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.
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Wow, I was missing out!
Yes, 1984 is a fascinating political treatise... but more importantly it’s a gloriously gripping novel. Characters are relatable, interesting and tragic, you really root for them and invest in what they’re going through. The imagery is evocative and the plot is full of twists and turns despite all of us knowing about Room 101, Big Brother etc from day to day life. I was up all night and read it in one sitting, literally couldn’t put it down.
Don’t make the same mistake I did, don’t ignore it as a ‘boring’ or ‘dry’ - read it!
And I would say it's true. I did however find it quite hard to get into at first, But I kept reading and I'm glad I did. There are reasons this book has been banned on and off since its publication. It's haunting, eerie and very profound and it will leave you questioning the type of world we live in.... or could possibly live in.
The political ideas in this book are astounding, thought-provoking and completely horrifying, and in terms of this 1984 is a flawless piece of writing, but in terms of the actual narrative, this novel can feel quite stale and lacks progression.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as the protagonist is simply a plot-device used to explore Orwell’s political ideas, which in themselves are interesting enough to keep the book enjoyable (and i use "enjoyable" for want of a better word, because this books can be pretty disturbing in places). But if it’s a strong story you’re after, this might not be the book for you.
It is one of the most depressing books ever written. Unlike other dystopias 1984 is completely devoid of any sense of hope or progression to a better society. Much like the main character, you will feel trapped in a bleak world that is sure to leave you emotionally dead by the time you read the final sentence.