A Clockwork Orange

Anthony Burgess
A Clockwork Orange Cover

A Clockwork Orange


I have a bone to pick with Mr. Burgess. Yeah I know he died when I was nine years old, and I doubt he would have cared much anyway, but something must be said. Do not complain that you have written a critically and commercially successful novel, because people want to ask you questions and talk about it with you. Be grateful that anyone wants to read your little book and be humble in this achievement.

Now where did this diatribe come from besides my fevered brain? I read the anniversary edition with an introduction by Anthony Burgess, and he spent the first half of the introduction complaining about the popularity of A Clockwork Orange. I have to say this really soured my reading of the book. Maybe I was just being too sensitive, but it just left bad feelings with the reading of the book somewhat.

I was and am quite familiar with the 1961 movie based on this book, and in some ways it colored my reading of this book. I was truly shocked to realize that the character of Alex in the novel was only 15 years old. It makes his actions all the more horrific. It was almost unthinkable to imagine a gang of 15 and 6 year olds going about the community robbing, raping and fighting. The very young age of the characters also makes the punishments Alex experienced even worse.

The restored chapter left me feeling full of dread, more so than even the end of the movie. The idea of Alex breeding could quite possibly be the most terrifying aspect of the entire novel.