Under the citrus skin of this twee-sounding title do not lie literary mechanics powered by blood, gore or the paranormal, but instead the visceral and obsessive propulsion to brutality of our adolescent ‘droog’ Alex, who guides us through his personal dreamland (our dystopia) of ‘moloko’, Beethoven and ‘ultraviolence’.
it grips, and it drags you through its terrifying landscape of orgiastic beatings
With each stomach-turningly abhorrent scene translated through our protagonist’s native ‘Nadsat’, a kind of Anglo-Russian sociopathic street talk, the reader is left alarmingly and uncomfortably close to the action. The only salvation? Being able to close the book when it all gets too much.
Yet here lies the problem. This grotesque exploration of a young lad’s habitual evildoings is too gripping and too well-written to put down – it grips, and it drags you through its terrifying landscape of orgiastic beatings and State-inflicted punishment, all soundtracked by “Lovely Ludwig Van”. You’ll never be able to listen to the Ninth Symphony again.