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review 2018-01-19 14:34
Words fail me
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

Alright, there is a lot going on in this little piece of poison dripping, mind-fuck of a story, and I don't know that I'm up to the task.


First of all, because it's the immediate, I call bullshit on that end (I'm talking of the 21th chapter that was cut-out of the USA version; if you've not read it, this paragraph will make little sense). I read the author's introduction and explanation, and I more or less agree that our empathy and sympathy tends to grow as we mature (and we are more or less savages as kids and teens), but having read the book, I don't believe this level of inner cruelty and utter disregard for other people, or the length it was self-indulged and brought out onto the world can be called "a folly of youth" and hand-waived like that. I do not believe that level of monstrosity is something that can be redeemed, worked out, grow bored out of, and the person just go on to be some well adjusted adult.


I also do not know what is to be done with such a person to be honest, even if my knee-jerk reaction if I was the victim would be to kill them. Brain-washing into effectively loosing their free will does not seem to be the answer though.


Next: There is a very strong undercurrent of the battle of the generations going on here. The way money is treated, those articles in the diary, and the mention of day hour and night ours, and whom the street belongs to, and even, who has the power in the first part vs. the second, and what it consist on.


Actually, the three parts are distillate poison on abuse of power: young hooligans for first, then the police and other punishing/correctional institutions for second, politicians in the third. Everyone screws everyone over, and in the end I hated the lot, little Alex, and his little followers, and the police, and the jailers, and the priests, and the doctors, and the politicians, and the social fighters, and even his victims.


Shit, I wouldn't recommend this one, even if I found it oddly compelling *shudder*. It is interesting, and effective, but a vicious way to provoke thought, maybe unnecessarily.


Done. Onto "I am Pusheen the Cat", ice-cream and a helping of crack fics for the soul.

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text 2018-01-19 09:59
Reading progress update: I've read 150 out of 213 pages.
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

I'm still reading. Oh, my God, I'm still reading.


If the first part was trigger fest and violence slide-show (I almost wrote horror-show and then decided it was too twisted), and some bits (and not even the most violent, mind you) gave me real anxiety (it was how close to life some of the situations, initial set ups and general descriptions felt), this second part was the sickening counter-push, just as violent and disturbed, only in a different manner.

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text 2018-01-05 20:12
Reading progress update: I've read 5 out of 213 pages.
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

I'm reading the version published outside USA, with it's extra chapter and, in this one, a very interesting introduction about the difference. It really puts it on it's head, doesn't it? What I'm left thinking on (and there is quite a bit touched upon in the author's words), is the bit where he calls the truncated version a fable, and the full one a novel, because I would point out that in there, besides the movie, resides the persistence of this book. After all, we have proof that we hold onto our fables and archetypes for millennia.

Page one: Ok, whut? Should I point out, yet again, that English is not my first language, or is this as heavy in slang that it's almost incomprehensible to everyone else too?


And yeah, I'm alternating this and "A Wrinkle in Time", with "Men explain things to me" around for non-fiction. Nice salad, huh?

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review 2017-10-23 21:20
Still horrorshow
A Clockwork Orange - Anthony Burgess

It must have been more than ten years since I first read A Clockwork Orange and I still remember what a struggle I had with this one! Thanks to all the nadsat expressions I didn’t pony cul as our little droog Alex would say. I have to admit that now, after having learned Russian (at least to a certain degree) this was a walk in the park, although at the same time some of the magic of the unusual and futuristic language definitely got lost.


Also, reading A Clockwork Orange at the age of fifteen or sixteen (being practically the same age as the protagonist) and now at the age of 27 makes a huge difference. I had planned on re-reading this one for three years now, but I never found the time – also, because I remembered it being much longer than it actually is and I was afraid that I wouldn’t enjoy it as much as I did. Because unfortunately this happens a lot to books I really loved when I was younger – but not this time!


A Clockwork Orange is one of the few books that really stuck with me since the moment I first read it and now I can rest assured, that it will keep doing that in the future. Bolshy great yarblockos to our droogie Burgess!

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review 2017-10-03 17:55
$ Money, Money, Money $
One Hand Clapping - Anthony Burgess

One Hand Clapping is a book about many things – love, money, convictions, the world going to shit, marriage, luck, family, the search for happiness and much more. To be honest, I am a bit baffled after finishing it.


First of all, Burgess amazes me. This book is written out of the perspective of Janet, a young British every-day girl from a small town, she’s quite beautiful, although not the sharpest tool in the shed, but hey, who needs to know that Cuba is not a part of Africa, eh? Anyway, Burgess nails this perspective in every way through syntax, lexis, emotions and even perception if that makes any sense.


Secondly, I loved Burgess’ take on wealthiness and the life of the filthy rich, as Hemingway would surely call them. Howard (Janets husband) and Janet win the big money and from this point on, everything changes, because he is desperately trying to give his wife the kind of life he thinks that she wants. At one point, Howard (Janets husband) even sends her out to get her milk or mink, because he forgot what it was they were talking about and money doesn’t matter anyway. I especially love Burgess for making Janet realise fairly soon that money isn’t everything and spending a ton of it won’t make you happy.


Besides that point, there is also the very apparent theme of the ongoing Americanisation of Britain and I don’t want to know what Burgess would think of our world today in this regard. But I think this quote pretty much sums it up:


„I’ve nothing against Americans, and we‘ve seen them at first-hand for ourselves, but I don’t want to to see English people turned into second-hand Americans. But it’s not just that. It’s this spitting in the eye of everything we used to stand for.“


So, apparently, the world is not only going to shit right at this moment, but has been in a downward spiral ever since.


I have to admit, that some parts of One Hand Clapping were a bit tedious and empty, especially all this rambling about horse races, but overall it’s an enjoyable read, which can be appreciated on many different levels.

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