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A Clockwork Orange: Restored Edition (Penguin Modern Classics) Paperback – 5 Dec. 2013
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Fully restored edition of Anthony Burgess' original text of A Clockwork Orange, with a glossary of the teen slang 'Nadsat', explanatory notes, pages from the original typescript, interviews, articles and reviews
Edited by Andrew Biswell With a Foreword by Martin Amis
'It is a horrorshow story ...'
Fifteen-year-old Alex likes lashings of ultraviolence. He and his gang of friends rob, kill and rape their way through a nightmarish future, until the State puts a stop to his riotous excesses. But what will his re-education mean?
A dystopian horror, a black comedy, an exploration of choice, A Clockwork Orange is also a work of exuberant invention which created a new language for its characters. This critical edition restores the text of the novel as Anthony Burgess originally wrote it, and includes a glossary of the teen slang 'Nadsat', explanatory notes, pages from the original typescript, interviews, articles and reviews, shedding light on the enduring fascination of the novel's 'sweet and juicy criminality'.
Anthony Burgess was born in Manchester in 1917 and educated at Xaverian College and Manchester University. He spent six years in the British Army before becoming a schoolmaster and colonial education officer in Malaya and Brunei. After the success of his Malayan Trilogy, he became a full-time writer in 1959. His books have been published all over the world, and they include The Complete Enderby, Nothing Like the Sun, Napoleon Symphony, Tremor of Intent, Earthly Powers and A Dead Man in Deptford. Anthony Burgess died in London in 1993.
Andrew Biswell is the Professor of Modern Literature at Manchester Metropolitan University and the Director of the International Anthony Burgess Foundation. His publications include a biography, The Real Life of Anthony Burgess, which won the Portico Prize in 2006. He is currently editing the letters and short stories of Anthony Burgess.
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Still delivers the shock of the new ... a red streak of gleeful evil -- Martin Amis
About the Author
- Publisher : Penguin Classics; 1st edition (5 Dec. 2013)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0141197536
- ISBN-13 : 978-0141197531
- Dimensions : 11.07 x 2.06 x 17.96 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 2,858 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 21 September 2020
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The protagonist is an unlikable teenage thug who leads a gang into acts of extreme violence. There are no excuses for his behaviour, such as having a dysfunctional or poor family life, he simply enjoys what he does. What this means is that I have no sympathy for him. He also is quite original in that he likes classical music and has invented a language that he and his friends use, which is a mixture of slang and words taken from Eastern European countries.
This invented language leads to two things. One is that I struggled to follow the story for a while as the flow was interrupted by having to refer to the glossary far too often, so that in the end I just ploughed through without fully understanding what the word meant. Does he have a pain in the stomach or the head? Never mind, move on. Very frustrating. However, this also serves to diminish the impact of the violence, which is very disturbing. Flicking to the glossary to find out what has covered the floor certainly disrupts the graphic imagery.
The next two parts of the book demonstrate an evergreen theme: freewill. Should delinquent members of society be forced to conform to the accepted standards by brainwashing or other such programmes, or be allowed to suffer the consequences of their choices organically. There are other themes covering good versus evil, man versus machine, man versus government, youth versus maturity, and intellect versus intuition. All relevant today.
The story is told from the perspective of the protagonist in a lighthearted, frivolous and arrogant manner, suitable for someone capable of such unfeeling brutality against others. The style does not connect with the depravity or touch the dark acts in the way many other novels do, so I always felt disconnected from the story. Perhaps that is the point. Towards the end it also feels as if the author has lost his way a bit, too.
A Clockwork Orange certainly has an originality, but as it took me three weeks to read a relatively short book, it suggests I wasn't drawn to the story as much as I expected.
The story itself is remarkably true to the film (ok I know the book came first but the film was what made it iconic). The nadsat isn't tricky, you can still understand what's going on even if you don't understand particular words (and if that bothers you check the glossary) and gives a unique flavour to the book. The last chapter is well...it divides people. I personally think it's better without but Burgess did write it so it does belong as part of the book. An interesting read for fans of the film and generally literature for it's nadsat language.
The use of Nadsat can be relatively confusing for the reader, however, you slowly begin to understand the terminology while progressing through the novel. This is an interesting tool as it acts as a buffer for the reader, protecting them from the horror initially and then opening up and divulging the gritty details as the plot develops.
Burgess should take great pride in A Clockwork Orange as the novel is a unique assessment of law and order through the chaotic life of its titular character.
A short but sweet effort ACO encompasses a multitude of horrors in its 141 pages but the childish writing softens the blow here. The slang the book is written in is easy to decipher and the reader is quickly able to read between the lines and get to the heart of the novel, when this is done, you have an achievement, balancing comedy and horror in the perfect blend and despite Kubrick adapting this to a phenomenal motion picture, in this case, once again, the book remains superior to the film.