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".
©1962 The Estate of Anthony Burgess (P)2010 Random House Audiobooks
There are books of the same chemical composition as dynamite. The only difference is that a piece of dynamite explodes once, whereas a book explodes a thousand times. ― Yevgeny Zamyatin
'A man who cannot choose ceases to be a man.'
The book might appear shocking because of the amount of ultra-violence like rape, murders, tolchoking (battering or hitting in nadsat). The way a thug depicts them in a casual, nonchalant sort of way, evidently enjoying that bloodletting, can be offputting. For instance, the scene which describes having sex with two ten-year-old girls was disturbing for me. But the novel isn't about glorifying violence. It's about choosing which way to go. It's about the protagonist's metamorphosis.
I watched S. Kubrick's film, and I had no idea that he used the truncated version of the book. And I had mixed feelings about the film. This audio consists of the original 21 chapters, which is fair.
The rendition was outstanding. I loved Tom Hollander's performance. He can do any accent, any character of any age. I'm fond of his timbre changing from harsh to mellow. I've truly admired his work ever since I watched the Land of the Blind.
The language was fun and a treat for me, since it's mostly based on modified Russian words, and being a native speaker of Russian, I got a kick out of it. Smecked my gulliver off in nadsat. Perhaps, to get a better and quicker understanding of the language, readers can study the glossary of the words used beforehand.
In short, listening to the book was a captivating experience!
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.
Both books explore the hidden world of gratuitous violence that lie beneath the thin veneer of our pseudo-caring attitudes in western culture.
I had seen the film, and was interested to understand what the book was actually saying. As it turned out, it was saying a lot more than the film. I had not known that the American edition of the book - the edition adapted for film - had omitted the 21st and last chapter, essentially undermining some aspects of the books message. Stanley Kubrick cynically claimed that he had not read the last chapter until he was applying the finishing touches to the editing of the film, but I think it is more likely that by omitting this last chapter, he made the films conclusion more edgy and attractive to audiences. I thought the film was disturbingly good, but would advise people to listen to this audio version of the book. It has an interesting introduction by Anthony Burgess where he voices his disappointment that this is the one work he will truly be remembered for amongst a host of ones he regards as better and he explains how the 21st chapter was lost in the US edition. He also explains what 'A Clockwork Orange' actually is, which alas I had not really understood from the film - very interesting.
Well read by the narrator and a pleasure to listen to. A superb book that has not aged, but only become more relevant.
"A classic for all"
The book begins with an introduction to the book by Anthony Burgess that sets the scene and the importance of the book in this current audio form. It becomes apparent immediately that he resented the creation of the film based on the American edition of the book which leaves out what for him is the essential 13th chapter.
As such I felt a difficult challenge. A desire to side with the author despite rating the film as one of my all time favorites and allow myself to reinterpret the story to tie in with the original intention.
Thankfully I was not disappointed. The language of the book, Natsat, is delivered expertly by the narrator and his excellent vocal illuminates the inner workings of Alex's mind in a way that despite Alex's simply vicious nature you cannot help grow to love him.
A true classic and an excellent audiobook, which should, like for me, help you understand once and for all what it means to be a 'clockwork orange' and how, only through our own volition, we can escape it.
Having always loved the book and like many other "classics" had it sitting on my book shelf for many years I bought the audiobook with the intention of reading the book.
The introduction by the author sets the stall out clearly. This book is different than the film. In fact the ending is so different that it gives a completely different perspective on what it means to be a "Clockwork orange".
A fantastic read and definitely worth purchasing! Amazing.
"Wow, a real horror show of a book!"
Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!
Wasn't sure what to expect from this book. Knew I'd either love it or hate it.
I loved it!
Very masterfully written, a work of sheer brilliance. The 'nadsat' language just works so well. As an added bonus, should you need one, narrator is absolutely spot on.
Hard to believe this was written over 50 years ago!
Cannot recommend it highly enough, definately the best audiobook I've listened to in a long time!!
"One of my favorite story in a (audio)book."
I listened to the audio-book soon after watching Kubrick's adaptation of the novel and the thing that struck me the most was how Tom Hollander's performance of Alex's voice created some sort of unity with Malcolm McDowell's own interpretation of Burgess's Nadsat as it's spoken throughout all the book. Hollander's tone and accent is a joy to listen to and his steady performance never undermines and rather complements both the subjectivity of every character in the story and the objectivity of Anthony Burgess's own insights.
This is a very good audio production worth every of its spoken words.
The book is so well spoken, I was so engaged with it. I really recommend it.
"Spoilt By The Narration!"
Perhaps I should have read the book before seeing the film before Kubrick's self imposed banning of the movie. The introduction explains why the book is different from the movie because the American edition, the edition which Kubrick read had only 20 chapters whereas the British and European editions had the full 21 chapters.
However, that is irrelevant, as in my opinion the audiobook is ruined by Tom Hollander's narration. I have nothing against Tom per se, except that most of the time he sounds like Ricky Gervais who I cannot abide at any price!
Sorry but there it is, that apart I can cope with it, alas only 3 stars.
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