Marcus's Reviews > A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
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May 11, 2009

it was amazing
Read in May, 2009 , read count: 2

I haven't seen the movie and don't plan on it, but the book is great. Before reading it, I didn't know much about it except that it was "crazy" and apparently something that teens read in High School then immediately put down and go out and either form a punk band or get a tattoo or dedicate their life to writing. Generally books with that reputation (On The Road, Atlas Shrugged, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance etc.) just don't appeal to me that much (OK so I liked Atlas Shrugged as well). Despite the reputation, A Clockwork Orange was absolutely worth the read. I might even dedicate my life to writing.

The audio version I listened to was narrated by Tom Hollander, my new favorite narrator. His performance is flawless. At the end of the Audible version there are a few sample chapters narrated by Burgess himself but not even he can hold a candle to Hollander's performance. It is wonderful.

I didn't, for better or for worse, find the ultraviolence as offensive as its reputation suggested. Maybe it's because just I'm coming off reading Lolita, or maybe it's because the violence in ACO, while the acts are horrendous, is not described explicitly . Whatever the reason, it didn't seem all that controversial to me.

The main philosophical issue is interesting: the merit and humanity of doing good of free will versus being compelled to do good. Looking into the mind of a kid who feels absolutely no desire to do good and no remorse for doing bad is disturbing and intriguing as well-- Alex is not your typical protagonist. There are some beautiful descriptions of music and at the end some fairly touching moments. Still though, my favorite parts weren't the story or the philosophy, they were, like, the language and dialog, oh my brothers.
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message 8: by Calvin (new) - added it

Calvin Can I ask why you don't plan on seeing the movie? I haven't read the book yet, but the movie happens to be my favorite movie of all time and Kubrick my favorite director of all time. For context, I've seen more films than I've read books.


Marcus Usually I'm disappointed by movies made after books, then after I see the movie I can only visualize the book in terms of the movie. I'll reconsider though since you liked it so much :)


Timothy I will say Kubrick remains very faithful to the book, but he omits the last chapter of the novel. It seems Kubrick wants the viewer to make his/her own conclusion about Alex's last statement in the movie.


Blair I watched the movie before I read the book, and the two are completely different.


Apbryant32 I watched the movie directly after reading the book, and I thought it was a really good adaptation. It omits several things (as most adaptations do), and the last chapter was left out because the American verison didn't have it, but I thought it was a great movie. Kubrick makes the decorations seem so so 'artsy' and sexual and it's very strange, but it fits. I enjoyed the movie very much. The book was way better, though.


Apbryant32 I watched the movie directly after reading the book, and I thought it was a really good adaptation. It omits several things (as most adaptations do), and the last chapter was left out because the American verison didn't have it, but I thought it was a great movie. Kubrick makes the decorations seem so so 'artsy' and sexual and it's very strange, but it fits. I enjoyed the movie very much. The book was way better, though.


Alex You lost me at "I liked Atlas Shrugged".


Marcus Alex Ferguson, liking a book doesn't mean you buy into the entire philosophy.


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