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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.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
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.
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
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?
Both books explore the hidden world of gratuitous violence that lie beneath the thin veneer of our pseudo-caring attitudes in western culture.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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.