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A Clockwork Orange

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  409,347 Ratings  ·  8,453 Reviews
A vicious fifteen-year-old "droog" is the central character of this 1963 classic, whose stark terror was captured in Stanley Kubrick's magnificent film of the same title.

In Anthony Burgess's nightmare vision of the future, where criminals take over after dark, the story is told by the central character, Alex, who talks in a brutal invented slang that brilliantly renders hi
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Paperback, 192 pages
Published April 17th 1995 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published December 1962)
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Daniel Weaver It's only tricky for the first chapter. The author uses a fictional registry of words, so it's expected to refer to a glossary to figure it out.…moreIt's only tricky for the first chapter. The author uses a fictional registry of words, so it's expected to refer to a glossary to figure it out. Luckily, the set of words used is pretty small and they are reused often. After you get the hang of it, it becomes pretty fun to read.

The name of the registry is Nadsat at and you can use the following glossary:
http://en.m.wiktionary.org/wiki/Appen...(less)
Claudia Cutino I was in the same position as you, and I really enjoyed the book just as much as the film. The thing is that the film is actually quite different from…moreI was in the same position as you, and I really enjoyed the book just as much as the film. The thing is that the film is actually quite different from the book, because it excludes certain scenes from the book. If you want the whole "A Clockwork Orange experience" then having read the book as well as watching the film is a must!

The book allows you to truly get to know Alex and feel like him too, this is something that the film can only do to an degree. You'll find that having watched the film will help you understand a lot of the book, especially some of the Nadsat. (less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Martine
Mar 22, 2008 Martine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who don't mind a bit of a challenge
A Clockwork Orange is one of those books which everyone has heard of but which few people have actually read –- mostly, I think, because it is preceded by a reputation of shocking ultra-violence. I’m not going to deny here that the book contains violence. It features lengthy descriptions of heinous crimes, and they’re vivid descriptions, full of excitement. (Burgess later wrote in his autobiography: ‘I was sickened by my own excitement at setting it down.’) Yet it does not glorify violence, nor ...more
Cecily
How to review an infamous book about which so much has already been said? By avoiding reading others’ thoughts until I’ve written mine.

There are horrors in this book, but there is beauty too, and so much to think about. The ends of the book justify the means of its execution, even if the same is not true of what happens in the story.


BOOK vs FILM

I saw the film first, and read the book shortly afterwards. Usually a bad idea, but in this case, being familiar with the plot and the Nadsat slang made
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Reading Corner
Feb 14, 2016 Reading Corner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a dark, compelling read with massive amounts of violent acts and imagery that run throughout the novel. They are definitely vividly described but in one way the violence is slightly censored with the use of the nadsat language, a language teenagers use in the novel. The book doesn't promote violence but instead explores the idea of violence entwined with youth and the morality of free will.

The nadsat language is a little confusing and irritating at the start but with the help of an onli
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MJ Nicholls
A favourite of my late teens, still a favourite now. The brutality of male blooming and the private patois of our teenhood . . . splattered across this brilliant moral satire, abundant in vibrant, bursting language and a structural perfection: Shakespearean, dammit. Goddamn Shakespearean! nadsat is second only to the language in Riddley Walker for a perfectly rendered invented language that is consistent within the novel’s own internal logic. This book is musical! This book sings, swings, cries ...more
Paul Bryant
May 16, 2010 Paul Bryant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In 1960 Anthony Burgess was 43 and had written 4 novels and had a proper job teaching in the British Colonial Service in Malaya and Brunei. Then he had a collapse and the story gets complicated. But I like the first cool version AB told, which was that he was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour and given a year to live. Since as you know he lived a further 33 years, we may conclude the doctors were not entirely correct. However - the doctor tells you you have a year to live - what do you d ...more
Lindsay
May 29, 2012 Lindsay rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: British lit fans, Anthony Burgess fans, people who've seen the movie, scifi fans
Shelves: european-lit
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lyn
Jan 13, 2016 Lyn rated it really liked it
What's it going to be then, eh? A linguistic adventure, O my brothers.

I had seen the Kubrick film and so reading the novella was on the list. Enjoyed it, was surprised to learn that American publishers and Kubrick had omitted the crucial last chapter that provides some moral denouement to the ultra-violence.

As disturbingly good as this is, one aspect that always comes back to me is Burgess' creation of and use of the Nadsat language. This provides color and mystery to the narrative and it is no
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Matthias
Mar 20, 2016 Matthias rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
Freude, schöner Götterfunken,
Tochter aus Elysium,


A Clockwork Orange. That title has stuck to my mind for a big part of my life, without ever making sense to me. The only image I had in association with these words, not having seen the movie but only some references to it, was a guy forced to keep his eyes open, forced to watch horrible images of extreme violence accompanied with music so loud it made his ears bleed. I could not make sense of that title, oh no. I was afraid of that title and o
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Forrest
Feb 17, 2015 Forrest rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The American Review:

At times, I find beauty in dissonance. Take, for example, my eclectic music collection. I have my share of soothing music: new age, quiet electronica, and so forth. I have some popular mainstream music, mostly from the '80s. Some funk, some reggae, ska, a bit of trance and techno. Yes, there's the heavy metal, punk, classic rock from my youth, and even a little progressive death metal. And, amongst it all, a good dose of 20th century classical pieces by such composers as Geor
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Brad
'What's it going to be then, eh?'

That was me, that is your humble commentator, sitting down to pass my glazzies over a book eemyaed A Clockwork Orange I'd sobirated from the biblio. I was ready to be tolchocked in my litso, to have my mozg pried out of my gulliver, to feel that sickening drop in the yarbles when falling from a great tower block; I expected to be preached to by that nadmenny veck A. Burgess in all his high goloss; I expected to loathe Alex and all his malenky malchick droogs. But
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Karly *The Vampire Ninja & Luminescent Monster*
**DISCLAIMER: If you HAVE NOT seen the movie, there will be spoilers**



There is a darkness in the world. For the most part that darkness is kept locked down, chained within the breast of the beast, forced to co-exist with and focus on the goodness. Whether this be by fear of reperucission or a personal desire to force it away depends on the person it lives within. Sometimes the chains, the rules and the fear are not enough. Sometimes the beast wins it's freedom into the world. In Anthony Burgess'
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Jonathan Ashleigh
Nov 11, 2015 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recent
This book was sweet. The way russian was used to show the distopian future was one of the coolest literary devices I have seen. Because I was so enthralled by it, I often read parts more than once to make sure I was getting the meaning right. Everyone should read this book, and then read it again to make sure they got it.
Henry Avila
Sep 03, 2014 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the near future, in an Utopian socialist country, England, where everyone has to work ( except the ill or old), whether the job makes any sense, or not, a group of teenagers like to party, without limits, at night. Alex, the leader, George, 2nd in command, Pete, the most sane, and the big, dim, Dim, he's good with his boots, fun loving, kids. Your humble narrator, Alex, will tell this story, my brothers ...First they see an ancient man, leaving the library carrying books, very suspicious, nob ...more
Justin
Jan 08, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it
Below is a stream of consciousness report of each part of the book:

Part 1: What the hell?! People actually like this book. Like, this is considered one of the best books of the twentieth century by real people? Is anything really going to happen or is this guy and his droogs just going to wander the streets committing random acts of violence? Thank God the violence is depicted with these silly words to make it more cartoonish and silly, but, man, this... this is insane. Oh wait, a malchick isn't
...more
Parthiban Sekar
Sep 27, 2015 Parthiban Sekar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, dystopian
How many times in a day do we hear Be-Yourself, I-am-what-I-am, and all those statutory reminders calling upon our self-control, decision-making, and ever-active inner agent which is none other than the entity that makes us us? When we grow up, we are all constantly being told or reminded or warned to find our own place in the society, not to get lost in the crowd, and most importantly, to be/become what we always want to be/become. And it is the choices we make during moral dilemmas diversifi ...more
hypothermya
Aug 13, 2007 hypothermya rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: linguiphiles, students of human behavior, rights-activists
I had been avoiding this book for several reasons. The first of these was perhaps the weighty reputation this book has for being shocking and controversial. I was slightly afraid that the book wouldn't be as monumental as it had been built up as. The second was my initial exposure to the Kubrik film based on this book. Even the most blase 14 year old will have a strongly negative reaction to the film; the exact response it was intended to elicit, I'm sure. Finally, this book seemed to be a polte ...more
Paquita Maria Sanchez
Feb 02, 2015 Paquita Maria Sanchez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: literature
This originally started out as a comment on Michael's awesome review, but then I realized that I have too frequently been writing these overly wordy responses to reviews about books I myself have yet to review, and it made me feel totally silly...as in, I should probably be keeping my rants contained to my own GR page rather than vomiting them all over all of your wonderful review threads. So! Here I am, and here is a review of a book that I read about 15 years ago, based solely on almost half-m ...more
Paul
Feb 19, 2014 Paul rated it really liked it
I’m not sure how I’ve got through over 50 years without reading this and this year I have one or two books on my list which could be titled “books I should have read as a teenager and probably shouldn’t read now”. This is one of them.
The history surrounding it is also interesting. Burgess was returning home with his wife from working abroad for six years in 1960, He was at this point diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour (mistakenly as it happens). He set to writing and wrote five and a half
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Wael Mahmoud
This novel without a doubt contains the most weird English Vocabulary i've ever read, It's unique from this aspect. Also some sentence structure are very strange and in the same time beautiful. Along with this language distinction, the black humor of every single sentence in Burgess' narration - on Alex's tongue - are unique and beautiful.

The 4 - and not 5 - stars because of the last chapter which spoil every thing about the novel's beauty, I advice any reader to cancel it or at least read it af
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Aubrey
3.5/5

Modern Library, Time Magazine, 1001 Books to Read Before You Die, The Guardian 1000, McCaffery, Barthelme, decoders of descendants of Rabelais, deciders of classics and producers of TV shows, all kowtowers to this work, one that says even more about the day and age when it is known that the last chapter was cut out of both US books and British movies for being too 'redeeming', leastwise till '86 rolled around and the editions reverted back to the intended 21, mark of the age of adulthood he
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Maggie
Oct 04, 2007 Maggie rated it it was amazing
I am the sort of person who can't watch very violent movies without covering my eyes or burrowing into my husband, who is kind enough to tell me when the gore has ceased.

However, I loved this book, for all the red, red krovvy and in-and-out and the ultraviolence. The dialect of Alex, your Humble Narrator, can be somewhat off-putting at first, which is something that Burgess himself admits in the introduction. But slowly you find yourself understanding the nonsense flowing so easily from his rot
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Annalisa
Jun 21, 2008 Annalisa rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: r rated. be forewarned of violence with a message
Interesting. Disturbing but insightful. Real horrorshow.

For as dark as cynical as the book is, the main point I got out of the book is that freedom of choice is more important than being good. Burgess takes the most atrocious person possible and strips him of his ability to choose until optimal vulnerability makes you agree that choosing evil is better than not choosing at all.

The obligatory warning that vague spoilers follow:

Here we have a futuristic society in which the night is overrun by you
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Madeline
Jun 05, 2007 Madeline rated it really liked it
“I believe that we should read only those book that bite and sting us. If a book we are reading does not rouse us with a blow to the head, then why read it? Because it will make us happy, you tell me? My God, we would also be happy if we had no books, and the books that make us happy we could, if necessary, write ourselves. What we need are books that affect us like some really grievous misfortune, like the death of one whom we loved more than ourselves, as if we were banished to distant forests ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jul 25, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Aaron (challenge yourself into reading a YA dystopian classic)
Recommended to K.D. by: TIME Magazine 100 Best Novels; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, 501, sci-fi, drugs
If the eating of the cake is in the pudding, then the reading of the book is in the language.

A Clockwork Orange (1962) by Anthony Burgess is a dystopian coming-of-age sci-fi and is one of the TIME Magazine's Best 100 Novels. For me, what makes this novel unique is the use of a fictional language that Burgess invented and called nadsat which is a mix of modified Slavic words, rhyming slang, derived Russian (like "baboochka"). In his interview, Burgess said that the reason why he invented a langu
...more
Mia Nauca
Dec 19, 2015 Mia Nauca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro es muy difícil de describir. Es un clásico,más conocido por su película, que muy poca gente se ha animado a leer.

Yo me animé y me enganchó desde la primera hoja. Debo decir que el protagonista, Alex, narra la historia con un vocabulario inventado mezclado con una jerga de la que yo nunca había oído en mi vida, por lo cual toma algunas páginas familiarizarte con las palabras y comprender lo que quieren decir - para los que tienen la versión de los 50 años, al final hay como un dicciona
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Francesca
This book is incredible. The themes of the story are still as relevant as they were then. Ethics, morality, choice, are still important topics that are discussed regularly throughout life. I'm aware of the controversial nature of this book due to the violence that takes place but after reading it, I can't help but wonder if part of the reason it was banned was due to the probably (sadly and worryingly) quite accurate depiction of governments. This is a very thought-provoking read.

The character o
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Ian Dami Im
The Cover

A black hole within a white zero within a black cog.

Darkness, nothingness and insignificance.

How It Came About I

The following account is from an article here:

http://www.creativereview.co.uk/cr-bl...

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
Cover by David Pelham (1972)

This has become quite a well-known image. However, something that none of these images [can] convey is the urgency and speed at which some of them had to be created. Neither can the images convey the additional complications cr
...more
Greg
Dec 07, 2008 Greg rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
My first full day at college, a Sunday, when everyone was probably out making friends and adjusting themselves I was locked up in my room struggling through this book. About a quarter of the way through when something about the language finally clicked in my head and everything became perfectly understandable to me was one of the high points in my reading life. Maybe I should have been out doing something with other people, but what could be nicer than being left along to read about ultraviolenc ...more
Nandakishore Varma
In a dystopian future, a gang of youngsters lead by a psycho go about pillaging, murdering and raping. The leader is caught and undergoes psychological conditioning so that he can't do violence any more. It effectively makes him a vegetable, taking away all the faculties that make him human.

The story is narrated in a nearly unintelligible slang called Nadsat, and is full of scenes of obscene violence.

The book is beautiful.

This is the genius of Anthony Burgess.
Sandi
Sep 06, 2008 Sandi rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008, sci-fi
Well, what can I say about "A Clockwork Orange"? Maybe I should first suggest that anyone who wants to read it should print out this glossary: A Nadsat Glossary. I will be eternally grateful to Matt (Tadpole316) for sending me that link. My printout is looking a little rough.

I had seen the movie about 15 years ago. It was disturbing and many of the images were already so much a part of our cultural consciousness that it was at once familiar, yet disturbing. Many of the images are permanently et
...more
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Anthony Burgess was a British novelist, critic and composer. He was also a librettist, poet, playwright, screenwriter, essayist, travel writer, broadcaster, translator, linguist and educationalist. Born in Manchester, he lived for long periods in Southeast Asia, the USA and Mediterranean Europe as well as in England. His fiction includes the Malayan trilogy (The Long Day Wanes) on the dying days o ...more
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“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?” 871 likes
“We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.” 742 likes
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