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A Clockwork Orange

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  447,661 Ratings  ·  9,767 Reviews
"What we were after was lashings of ultraviolence."

In this nightmare vision of youth in revolt, fifteen-year-old Alex and his friends set out on a diabolical orgy of robbery, rape, torture and murder. Alex is jailed for his teenage delinquency and the State tries to reform him - but at what cost?

Social prophecy? Black comedy? A study of free will? A Clockwork Orange is all
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Mass Market Paperback, Penguin Essentials, 141 pages
Published April 7th 2011 by Penguin (first published December 1962)
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Popular Answered Questions

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)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Martine
Feb 16, 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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Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 Jonathan Ashleigh rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 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.
Lyn
Jul 17, 2011 Lyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"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. I very much 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 narrativ
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Bookdragon Sean
Rebellion can take on many forms and in A Clockwork Orange it takes on the form of language: the spoken word.

All societies have their constraints, though breaking through them is often difficult. What the “poor” disaffected youth do here is create their own system of communication that is so utterly theirs. Every word carries history, and by destroying such words the youngster are proposing a break from tradition: they are proposing something new. This idea is captured when they attack the “b
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Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 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
Reading Corner
Aug 18, 2015 Reading Corner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites, classics
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
Lindsay
Jul 15, 2007 Lindsay rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Matthias
Mar 14, 2016 Matthias rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 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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Jilly
I read this as part of a reading challenge. I've never seen the movie either, and now that I've read it, I don't think I want to.


This is what it would take to make me watch a movie that includes this as a scene.

It's really hard to review this book because it has been studied, picked apart, and written about for years and years. So, I'm going to approach it as I would any book: what an average American shlub thinks about it. No scholarly dissertation, no thesis, no talking about the symbolism. Ju
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Frankie
Apr 09, 2012 Frankie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: seen-movie, uk
Loved this.
Had to print off a dictionary for the slang but eventually found I didn't need one as I quickly picked up on the language.
Very disturbing.
Forrest
Mar 19, 2013 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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Henry Avila
Aug 06, 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
Parthiban Sekar
Apr 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
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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Alex ☣ Deranged KittyCat ☣
Hmmm... This is going to be a challenge because I find A Clockwork Orange a tricky book.

I'll start by saying that last week I read Prince of Thorns, a book about a 14 years old boy (Jorg) who kills, rapes and does pretty much everything he wants. This book is about a 15 years old boy (Alex) who rapes, kills and does pretty much everything he wants. And to think people found Jorg disturbing. Jorg has a reason and a goal. Alex is just... heck if I know what he's about. I guess he's just enjoying h
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Karly *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*
**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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Alex Farrand
Mar 15, 2016 Alex Farrand rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: movies, classics
Let me start off that this book has been sitting on my bookshelf, unread, since my husband came back from California a few years ago. He hasn't even read the book, but insisted on having it. I guess Heath Ledger read this book to figure out how to play the Joker. By and by curiosity has struck me into reading it.

Well this book is horribly good. I was between 4 and 5 stars, but the violence made me cringe. Which is a good thing to make a book so vivid in the writing, but mentally I was not prepar
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Justin
Jan 01, 2016 Justin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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hypothermya
Aug 13, 2007 hypothermya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
وائل المنعم
هذه الرواية دون شك تحوي أغرب مفردات إنجليزية قرأتها، من هذه الزاوية تكتسب روايتنا فرادتها، بجانب ذلك فإن بعض الجمل تم بناءها بطريقة غريبة للغاية ولكنها جميلة. بالإضافة لهذا التميز على الجانب اللغوي للرواية فإن الكوميديا السوداء التي تميز كل الجمل المحكية على لسان أليكس مميزة وجميلة.
الأربع نجوم وليس الخمس بسبب الفصل الأخير الذي أفسد جمال الرواية. لذا أنصح قارىء الرواية بتجاهل هذا الفصل أو على الأقل قرأته بعد برهة من الوقت حتى لا يفسد عليه جو وجمال الرواية. لقد كان كوبريك من الذكاء أن تجاهل هذا ال
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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.
Madeline
Jun 05, 2007 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“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
Paul
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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Paquita Maria Sanchez
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
Maggie
Oct 01, 2007 Maggie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 24, 2008 Annalisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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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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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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

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 Eng
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“Is it better for a man to have chosen evil than to have good imposed upon him?” 968 likes
“We can destroy what we have written, but we cannot unwrite it.” 825 likes
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