A Clockwork Orange

  • by Anthony Burgess
  • Narrated by Tom Hollander
  • 7 hrs and 48 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this 1962 classic, a novelistic exploration of modern crime and punishment, Alex is the 15-year-old leader of his gang of "droogs" thriving in the ultraviolent future, as prophetically imagined by Burgess. Speaking a bizarre Russian-derived slang, Alex and his friends freely pillage and slash their way across a nightmarish urban landscape until Alex is captured by the judicial arm of the state. He then becomes their prized guinea pig in a scientific program to completely "redeem" him for society.
If we had the power of absolute criminal reform, what, the novel asks, would this mean for our ideals of freedom and society? This edition reinstates the final chapter missing from Kubrick's film, in which Alex is on the verge of starting a family as he reflects on - and completely rejects - his adolescent nastiness. It also includes Burgess's introduction "A Clockwork Orange Resucked".


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Customer Reviews

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An Ecclectic Classic

It isn't always easy to listen to a book that predicted the future which such harsh judgment based upon the developing truth of its own times. "Clockwork" is just such a book. But, I am gratified to say that, it is so much easier to listen to than it was for me to read thirty years ago.
I feel some empathy for the book because it has resonance with my life. It was published the year I was born and it must have been as startling to readers as my first breath was to me. In fact, it must have been a shock. Burgess' tale of what now we might euphemistically call a "dysfunctional" boy, 15 year old Alex, is immediately recognisable. He is a hooligan amongst the common hooligan's we read of nearly every day, the violence that we see on our screens (fictional and fact) and on the streets of our urban jungles. His story (particularly his political manipulation) remains vividly and shockingly relevant 50 years on.
I was intrigued by the Foreword by the author and by the priceless reading by him of three chapters from the original 21 a decade or more ago. Amazing too was the discovery that until this edition was released in the US, only the first 20 chapters had been included in that country (which totally makes for a different book). Still more astounding was it to read that, on his death, he still lamented that he was best know for this dystopian work. At least he seems to have in part accepted that in some way he influenced people because of it (albeit that this must have been a difficult think for him to accept).
It remains to say something about the audio skills of the extremely talented Tom Hollander. It speaks volume for his skills that not once did I picture his well known and angelic face. Strangely, from time to time I though of Jude Law with a shaved scone or a young Michael Caine (the latter lest surprising given the unique cockney, come eastern bloc lingo that passes as communication among this sub-human crew).
The violence is vivid and in your face, so this isn't for everyone. However, if you are looking for a thoroughly entertaining listen with a moral underscore, you won't be disappointed with this production.
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- Ian C Robertson

Art is dangerous.

Would you consider the audio edition of A Clockwork Orange to be better than the print version?

The excellent narration and my low attention span made it a more accessible experience and therefore a more enjoyable experience when compared to reading the print version. When I read this book, I struggled to come to terms with the made up words Alex and his Droogs use to the point where they interfered with my comprehension of the narrative. However, the cadence and rhythm of the narrator was pure perfection that permitted the slang terminology to echo the mood as it vanished into the overall atmosphere of the tale.

What other book might you compare A Clockwork Orange to and why?

American Psycho.
Both books explore the hidden world of gratuitous violence that lie beneath the thin veneer of our pseudo-caring attitudes in western culture.

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- MR

Book Details

  • Release Date: 05-06-2010
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks