‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess is brilliant, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It took me a little while to get into initially because I wasn’t expecting occasional words to be in ‘nadsat’, a form of teen slang in this dystopian not-so-distant-future society. Interestingly, my boyfriend told me that these words are actually the sort-of Russian words with English spelling rather than made up words as I thought initially. Although this was rather jarring at first, I got used to it pretty quicky and hardly noticed it by the end; you learn these new words and begin to know what they mean without having to guess from the context.
The story, for those of you who don’t know, is split up into three parts. The first involves 15-year-old Alex and his droogs (friends) committing “ultra-violence” essentially just for fun. This section of the book contains a lot of graphic sex and violence and although it was lengthy at times, it didn’t come across as unnecessary because it explores the morality of free will: whether it is better to choose to be bad, or to be conditioned to be good. Author, Anthony Burgess, did a really good job of demonstrating the horror of the situation while also showing Alex’s enjoyment from it in a very twisted and weird sort of way.
In the second section of the book Alex is arrested and undergoes a method of aversion therapy in which he is forced to watch video clips of an extreme sexual and physical nature while being injected with a drug that makes him feel seriously ill. The idea is that his body then associates the two and every time he thinks about sex or violence he feels very sick – a cure for being a murderer, if you will. I found this pretty interesting, and I still loved getting the complete picture from Alex’s point of view; he’s such a well developed character with his own quirky and odd mannerisms that it’s almost as if he’s about to leap from the page.
In the end, I found myself actually sort of feeling sorry for Alex when everything starts going wrong for him which is odd considering how horrendously he acts at the beginning. A very very intriguing book and I would definitely recommend it to anyone who hasn’t read it; don’t let the violence put you off, although it’s not pleasant it definitely does add to the story and it’s an amazing novella anyway with such well-thought ideas and interesting themes.