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Search tags: Nineteen-Eighty-Four
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review 2018-05-21 20:49
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell (audiobook)
Nineteen Eighty-Four - Simon Prebble,George Orwell

I've been meaning to reread this for a while and I'm glad I finally got around to it.

 

A lot has been said about this book, but I guess for me it represents an interesting way to look at human psychology and the nature of truth and doublethink (the cognitive dissonance is awesome). Really the only thing that is holding me back from giving it five stars is just how silly the whole romance with Julia is. Because the level of insta-love is extremely high. Oh well.

 

Simon Prebble's narration is really good, too.

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review 2018-05-03 19:42
1984 by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four - Simon Prebble,George Orwell

This book is quite terrifying. I think most everyone but me has read it or was forced to read it in high school. I was a delinquent student and missed out on this book somehow and decided to read it now. Don’t ask me why. It is perhaps a very bad time to decide to read this book about a world where Big Brother is watching your every move, history is being re-written on the daily and replaced with lies and where most everyone is just another cog in the wheel and basically a Sheeple obliviously going along with things.

 

Anyway, this book was pretty chilling and very readable except for the long winded section where the “hero” is reading the journal/book provided to him about the way of the world. I think that could’ve been tightened up as it repeated much of what the reader already knew but if you need to know all the details you’ll love this part. I wasn’t a fan of the “Newspeak” section at the end where it explains in great detail how language is being slaughtered to control the masses. I also didn’t like the “hero” but I don’t think I was supposed to. In this world no one can be trusted and he is a rather weak and loathsome creature. He’s married, hasn’t a clue where his wife ended up and doesn’t really seem to care, he cheats and he sees a young woman and fears her because she is part of the Thought Police but secretly he wants to hurt and rape her. Ugh, what a loathsome creature. Did I say that already? Despite his distasteful personality and all of my complaints, I think you should read this if you haven’t already because it tackles the absolute absurdity of allowing government complete control over every aspect of your life.

 

The audiobook version I listened to as narrated by Simon Prebble who does an excellent job.

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review 2017-10-25 14:08
Nineteen Eighty-Bore
Nineteen Eighty-Four - George Orwell

1984 is probably THE book when it comes to dystopian fiction, it is a canonical or if you like „classic“ novel, but now I wonder if it really deserves this status.
My dystopian October readings included Evgenij Zamjatins We, which was actually the blueprint for 1984 (believe it or not, but since Orwell knew Russian very well, he was quite familiar with Zamjatins writing), so I was quite eager to read both novels and now I just don’t understand how Orwell didn’t come up with something better.

 

I was honestly bored throughout most of the time and this has nothing to do with a lack of action in a traditional sense or the average plot, but first and foremost with the characters (1), the structure (2) and the length (3).

 

1. Good characters make good texts in my opinion. To really engage while reading, I have to feel something for at least one of the characters. This can be a liking for someone, love, dislike or even hate – but in 1984 I did not really like nor dislike anyone – I am simply completely indifferent to all of them. Where is the charisma, the uniqueness, the personality? One might argue that in the 1984-kind of future these traits are not allowed to exist, therefore no one possesses them, but then I say that this is what makes us human. I understand, that the average citizen of Oceania doesn’t have any personality, but what about Winston and Julia? I cannot remember ever having a protagonist who was such a flat, non-developing character.

 

2. If the characters are bad, sometimes the writing style or the structure of a novel can help to counterbalance the deficit. But not in this case. One cannot even see the plot for all the repetitions. So many unnecessary repetitions. The past is constantly altered and people killed by the Party have never even existed. Point made. It is a good point. But point understood the first time. There is no need to come back to this in every other chapter.


Also, Orwell obviously went through a great deal inventing Newspeak. Then why isn’t Newspeak incorporated more? I mean, seriously, compared to Burgess’s Nadsat, which is quite unintelligible at first, Newspeak is not hard to grasp.

 

3. The sheer length of 1984! This ties in with point 2 about the repetitions – You could cut out so much and it wouldn’t affect the story at all. When I was probably half through I started thinking, that maybe 1984 would work really well as a short story. And I don’t say this in regard to the shortened attention span of us modern people, but because our social, cultural and literary Erwartungshorizont has been pushed forward so much since 1949 that a modern reader is no longer challenged by this.

 

All in all, I had high expectations for 1984 and maybe that was the problem.

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review 2017-01-10 00:00
Nineteen Eighty-Four
Nineteen Eighty-Four - Thomas Pynchon,George Orwell I am so disappointed and so jealous. I'm jealous of those who read this book and loved it so much they gave it 5 stars. I can see why it's a classic and I can see why so many would love this book but I did not.
Parts of it (especially Book 2 - Chapter 9) read like an economic and political textbook and I found myself so disinterested and bored that I was tempted to skip chapters. I Feel as though I could have really enjoyed and gotten into the story if the political and economic details hadn't gotten in the way so much, but I suppose that's what makes this book a classic. I again wish that I loved it, I wanted to because it's a classic and everyone loves it, but I didn't love it or hate. There are powerful messages and imagery in this book and I'm not at all sorry that I read it, but overall I just thought it was "Okay".
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review 2016-11-15 21:40
1984 by George Orwell
Nineteen Eighty-Four - Simon Prebble,George Orwell

Despite a great narrator, this book was painful to listen to. I understand what Orwell is trying to say with this story, but I've never read a book with violence, sex, and political intrigue that managed to be so excruciatingly boring.

 

I have at times said that great nonfiction is so entertaining that it reads like a novel. Well, this book is the opposite of that. It is a novel that literally includes long segments of made up nonfiction. I think this novel is the reason the concept "show, don't tell" was created. At one point, I thought I must have accidentally rewound the recording because I could have sworn Winston was reading exactly the same section again. Or was this Big Brother cleverly torturing me?

 

The beginning of this book has our doomed Winston wondering if he is the only sane person in the world. (He is.) That had potential, but then he started an oddly detached love affair with a younger woman. This is where the book started losing me, but I didn't realize how much worse it was going to get.

 

This is one of those classics that I just cannot fall in love with. I can appreciate it only as early dystopian fiction that has led to other much more brilliant stories.

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