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A Clockwork Orange

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  646,183 ratings  ·  15,395 reviews
Fifteen-year-old Alex and his three friends start an evening's mayhem by hitting an old man, tearing up his books and stripping him of money and clothes.

Or rather Alex and his three droogs tolchock an old veck, razrez his books, pull off his outer platties and take a malenky bit of cutter.

For Alex's confessions are written in 'nadsat' - the teenage argot of a not-too-dista
Mass Market Paperback, 149 pages
Published January 4th 1972 by Penguin Books (first published 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. Lucki…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:
Susan I loved the book. I enjoyed reading the story told in the first person in Burgess's "Nadsat" dialect that's a challenge to figure out, but it really i…moreI loved the book. I enjoyed reading the story told in the first person in Burgess's "Nadsat" dialect that's a challenge to figure out, but it really immerses you in Alex's mind. I guess I'm just not a fan of Stanley Kubrick, but I hated the movie and its visuals/sets. The rape scene was particularly disturbing. Whereas the book was more philosophical and made me think more. (I also read the book before seeing the movie, so I was already partial to the book.) So the answer probably depends on WHY you liked the movie. If you like a story that will make you think and gives more insight into Alex's mind rather than emphasizing the shock value of the "ultraviolence," you may like the book even more than the film.(less)

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Average rating 3.99  · 
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 ·  646,183 ratings  ·  15,395 reviews

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Feb 16, 2008 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
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, and Omission of Final Chapter

I saw the film first, and read the book shortly afterwards. Usually a bad idea, but in this case, being familiar with the
Jul 17, 2011 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
Ahmad Sharabiani
(Book 437 from 1001 books) - A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange is a dystopian novel by English writer Anthony Burgess, published in 1962.

Set in a near future English society featuring a subculture of extreme youth violence, the teenage protagonist, Alex, narrates his violent exploits and his experiences with state authorities intent on reforming him. The book is partially written in a Russian-influenced argot called "Nadsat".

Part 1: Alex's world Alex is a 15-year-old livin
Paul Bryant
Sep 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
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
Henry Avila
Aug 06, 2014 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 nobody goes there no ...more
Mario the lone bookwolf
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
A classic, probably a bit overrated book and one of the rare cases in which I would say that the movie is better than the book. The most unnecessary thing was to add an extra chapter at the end that took the flow, logic, and atmosphere out of the whole thing. Nice development of an own language, but also not as cool as other examples. The whole dystopic brainwashing idea is one of the best elements.

It reminds me of many overrated classics that form 3 stages or categories of boredom.

Books that
Sean Barrs
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
Jonathan Ashleigh
Oct 07, 2014 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.
Michael Finocchiaro
Like many I suppose, I saw Kubrick's film long ago without having read the book until now. Part punk rock version of Finnegans Wake, part scalding criticism of UK society in the 50s, Burgess' dystopian Center is a real "horrorshow" (in a non-ACO interpretation of the word) of violence. Alex is a terrifying character - every bit as evil as the Joker or Anton Chigurh whose state-sponsored brainwashing is equally disturbing. The prison chaplain's pleas for free choice tend to exemplify the theme of ...more
I once had a truly lovely roommate. In my mind, I now think of her as the Yoga Bunny: yes, because she was a yoga instructor, but also because she was the kind of adorable hippy who wants to believe that deep down, everyone is nice and that if you love one another enough, the world’s problems will eventually solve themselves. She was kind, generous and polite to a fault and I do not mean to make fun of her: I really love her very much, but her world view always seemed terribly naïve and somewhat ...more
"It's funny how the colors of the real world only seem really real when you watch them on a screen."

There are these dystopian visionary books that slowly but steadily move from speculative fiction into the field of painfully realistic portrayals of life as we know and suffer it. Huxley, Orwell and Atwood all saw our ordeal coming, and they created the mood and terror for our era long before we could follow their tracks in the daily news spit out in vicious bits and pieces.

Recently a retired teac
Jul 15, 2007 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.
J.L.   Sutton
May 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange is a fantastic, thought-provoking and immersive read! Don’t be put off by the invented slang. It comes very easily once you begin reading, and adds to the experience. Besides recommending this book, I do have a final thought concerning chapter 21, the chapter which was left out of the published American edition of the novel as well as the iconic film by Stanley Kubrick. I understand Burgess’s desire to show change in his young anti-hero, Alex; however, the tr ...more
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
Let's begin with the Penguin book cover....Too cool for words!

And the novel....It's DARK. While slow going at first, it didn't take long to get the drift of the slang, nadsat talk....all the teens use it, but I recommend staying with it without long interruption once you start.

"It's a stinking world because it lets the young get on to the old like you done, and there's no law nor order no more. I'm not one bit scared of you, my boyos, because I'm too drunk to feel the pain if you hit me and if

Steven Godin

First time round I didn't really think that much of this.
For three main reasons.
1. Despite this being something of an 'essential' read before you hit adulthood I wasn't much of a reader then. Maybe two or three books a year. What did I know?
2. I hadn't seen the film (this time around it made a massive difference having Kubrick's visionary masterpiece swirling around in my head).
3. I read a tatty old 70s copy of the novel that looked like it had crawled through a warzone before hiding in someo
Mar 19, 2013 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
'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
Reading Corner
Aug 18, 2015 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
Jan 08, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was real horrorshow, O my brothers. I suggest that all vecks should viddy it if they have a chance.
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
Johann (jobis89)
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
”What’s it going to be then, eh?”

In a dystopian world set in the future, where criminals take over the dark, Alex is a juvenile delinquent who talks using an invented slang called Nadsat.

A Clockwork Orange might just the biggest turnaround I’ve ever had in terms of initially hating a book... and then becoming a fan of it by the end. After buying a copy and flicking through it, and seeing some of the writing, I messaged @ab_reads to say “why the hell am I putting myself through this? I should hav
R.K. Gold
Jan 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The intro to this book made me awfully sad, even more so when I loved the book. The fact that this was perhaps Anthony Burgess' most memorable piece and that he was so ambivalent about it kind of twists my stomach in knots. It's why I felt so guilty giving it a perfect 5 star rating, but I really had no choice. I thought it was brilliant. The entire book had me emotionally attached. I felt angry at the world surrounding Alex and despised almost all he encountered while gnawing at the back of my ...more
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
Mar 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews, favorites
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
Jon Nakapalau
One of my favorite books of all time...but be warned that the ending is different than the ending of Stanley Kubrick's movie (also a classic). Truth be told I prefer the movie ending...but the overall message is the same: when a generation of vipers slithers free who provided the nest they were spawned in? ...more
Jun 05, 2007 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
Actual rating: 3.5 🌟's

Despite me "only" giving this book a rating of 3.5 stars, I completely understand why it is considered a masterpiece.
The reasoning behind my rating is the writing style - which just so happens to also be the thing that makes this novel so special and unforgettable. The fact that the author was able to be consistent with this made-up dialect throughout the entire work, seriously needs to be admired. For me, however, it was quite hard to get into the book and stay focused du
Alex and his gang are the product of a generation where violence is habitual and trivialized. For them, it is not a question of unease or the sign of a revolt but quite simply of a simple distraction. The paradox in the story is that Alex is passionate about classical music, music meant to soften souls and not lead them to depravity.
So their favourite pastime is terrorizing poor people. Physical violence, verbal violence, nothing omitted. Alex is, in a way, the “guru” of his gang since he addres
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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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