Just this minute (ok, just this hour and since had a tea refill and a couple of oreo cookies) finished reading A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess.
Firstly, in the Kindle format it’s impossible to read the glossary alongside the ridiculous vocab, though it’s simple enough to pick up on after a little while. This was a pain in the ass, particularly when I took a break from reading and the newfound ability to read and understand nadsat leaked from my brain.
The story itself is intriguing, particularly the brainwashing part (I’m just going to go ahead and assume most people have watched the Kubrick adaptation, if not read the book) though I found it a little tiresome how easily the brainwashing was completed and then reversed. I know, I know – the book was released in the 60’s but we had a man on the moon that decade, dammit – Pavlovian conditioning was described in 1903!
My angry behaviourist tendencies aside, the story was pretty good but I just felt that this book was lacking something given that it’s touted (yes, touted. I never get to use that word) as a masterpiece. I understand the fascination with the role of free will in the concepts of good and evil, thoroughly appreciating this as the focal point of the novel but I can’t help but feel that some authors did this better; naming Anne Rice for one. I am slightly biased as she’s already well established as my favourite author and possibly human being, more on that another day though.
To conclude, it was a very enjoyable if difficult read. Stomach churning at times, irritating at others but it was a good look at the evil of teenagers and the importance of free will.
Reading this to a soundtrack of Beethoven may have been the best decision of my adult life thus far.
“Civilised my syphilised yarbles.”
― Anthony Burgess,