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On the surface, A Clockwork Orange is a depiction of an apalling young man who commits a variety of violent acts and the government's attempts to redeem him. On a deeper level, it is also a social commentary on youth violence, psychiatry, morality, and other social issues (this is much more apparent in the book than it is in the film). It alternates between being humorous, shocking, and thought-provoking. Overall it is an amazing book, and the narration is phenomenal.
However, this book employs some rather extreme violence, (e.g., the raping of young girls, the beating of an old man) to convey its messages. If you think this might be a problem for you, then you should probably not purchase this audiobook.
Also, the book employs a great deal of slang, called Nadsat. It makes the story a bit difficult to comprehend at first, but you get used to it before long. The narrator also does a wonderful job with it (pausing in all the right places, etc.), and makes it much more comprehensible. I thought it added humor to the story and made it more enjoyable, but other listeners may find it to be overwhelming.
52 of 54 people found this review helpful
No matter whether you've seen the Stanley Kubrick movie, or read the book - "Clockwork Orange" demands the spoken word, especially all the bits of British accents but also a made-up language and a very neat "voice" for "little Alex" (the Malcolm McDowell character in the iconic picture, bowler hat, eye makeup and stiletto).
This audio book adds-back the last chapter, deleted from the US book and the film. Burgess explains his logic, while admitting the reasons why we may agree with the US editor (I agree with Burgess, myself, but then I'd been utterly unaware of the question).
Burgess personally speaks an introduction, and at the end, reads aloud 3 critical chapters, adding surprising depth to the minor characters even as you can feel his identification with little Alex.
There is substance here, though it works neatly just as "ultra-violence" with minimal human depth.
With the added arc of character, and Burgess reading key bits of little Alex narrating, and even adding some of the capital-R Romantic classical music that's interwoven with ultra-violence in little Alex's soul, "voice" seems the best word for the way Burgess uses linguistic razzle-dazzle to get us all inside little Alex.
A note on "ultra-violence," especially the graphic rapes clearly motivated more by violent hatred than anything like merely erotic desire. The plot and Alex's arc are about free will, good and evil, and may even work as an odd Christian apologetic. The violence is central and deeply thought-out, about as far from gratuitous exploitation as I can imagine.
Still and all, the violence is horrible, terrible and even a bit nauseating - but then that's what makes "evil" a meaninful word, yes?
30 of 32 people found this review helpful