Saturday, December 13, 2014

Book 14: Success!

Previously, I expressed some difficulty in attempting to read A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess. It took me a little bit, but I was able to get past the wonky (and, in my view, occasionally illogical) made-up slang and actually figure out what the heck was going on in the book.
Our pockets were full of deng, so there was no real need from the point of view of crasting any more pretty polly to tolchock some old veck in an alley and viddy him swim in his blood while we counted the takings and divided by four, nor to do the ultra-violent on some shivering starry grey-haired ptitsa in a shop and go smecking off with the till’s guts. But, as they say, money isn’t everything.

At times, getting past the slang was easier said than done, but I found as long as I picked the book up fairly regularly, I could keep in the mindset that allowed me to not get tripped up on the slang.

Once I got past that, the book actually ended up fairly interesting. The main point seemed to be about choice and yeah, it was a bit heavy handed with that.
A man who cannot choose ceases to be a man.
Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some ways better than a man who has the good imposed upon him?
Goodness comes from within.... Goodness is something chosen. When a man cannot choose he ceases to be a man.
They have turned you into something other than a human being. You have no power of choice any longer. You are committed to socially acceptable acts, a little machine capable only of good.
Beat that dead horse, baby.

No, but really. It did bring up some interesting things to think about and it came at a good time for me, so thumbs up on that. But honestly, I think the end kind of fizzled and it left me wondering what the takeaway was supposed to be.

Apparently, the last chapter (SPOILERS: where Alex gets bored with his youthful life of violence and decides he'd like to be married and have a child and effectively grows out of his thieving, assaulting, raping and murdering ways in one night), was originally removed from the US versions of this book. (It was this edited version that Stanley Kubrick's movie was based on, which is probably why watching the movie didn't help me resolve any of my issues with the book.) I can understand that because, to me, it ends the book on a confusing note. It kind of messed with what I saw to be the strong choice-related themes of the book.

I think if the book had ended differently (the last chapter particularly, but I think it started to decline when Alex ended up in the hospital), I might have actually enjoyed this book. As it is, I'm left with kind of a "meh" feeling about it all. It was interesting and provoked some interesting conversation with Dan, but it could have been more.

Anyway, I'm apparently still on my weirdly violent (violently weird?) book kick. And I've just started reading a Haruki Murakami book, so I don't think the kick is done yet.


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