Book Review: A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess



It is a horrorshow story …’ Fifteen-year-old Alex likes lashings of ultra-violence. He and his gang of friends rob, kill and rape their way through a nightmarish future until the State puts a stop to his riotous excesses. But what will his re-education mean? A dystopian horror, a black comedy, an exploration of choice, A Clockwork Orange is also a work of exuberant invention which created a new language for its characters.

Rating: 4 stars

My Review:

Often claimed as one of the most disturbing books of this century, I would say “A Clockwork Orange” is rightly said to be so. This book depicts the exploits of a bunch of hooligan teenagers who let themselves out on a rampage; one that involves robbery, rape, and hyper-violence. Anthony Burgess’s novel could be termed a controversial form of a dystopian society. I would say dystopian because as we progress with the plot, there is simply way too much of dehumanizing that shakes you up to the very core of your existence.

Alex is our protagonist who is shown to be at the center of the storm when it comes to evil. Sometimes you tend to think of the moral compass or the lack of it in Alex as a central premise of the book. Through the three parts of the book, we explore a different period in Alex’s life. The first one is when we get introduced to Alex, his gang and the surroundings that he has grown up in. In the second and third section, Alex spends a considerable amount of time in prison, the “purification” that happens there and of course, the subsequent impact of it on him.

This book is a question of morality raised by the profound linguist that is Burgess. He wanted to time the book in the future and show how time had affected the language people spoke as well. Hence, he creates this language – Nadsat which is a difficult combination of English, Russian or gypsy and slang.

What worked well for me in this book is how Burgess managed to create a marvelous anti-hero in Alex. Despite the fact that he goes through some very unimaginably hard things in the later part of the book, you cannot empathize with him. And that’s where the genius of Burgess lies. He makes you detest Alex, hate him almost, not empathize with him but definitely, remember him through and through.


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