Nineteen Eighty-Four


Nineteen Eigthy-Four by George Orwell

Blurb:

Winston Smith works for the Ministry of truth in London, chief city of Airstrip One. Big Brother stares out from every poster, the Thought Police uncover every act of betrayal. When Winston finds love with Julia, he discovers that life does not have to be dull and deadening, and awakens to new possibilities. Despite the police helicopters that hover and circle overhead, Winston and Julia begin to question the Party; they are drawn towards conspiracy. Yet Big Brother will not tolerate dissent - even in the mind. For those with original thoughts they invented Room 101 . . .

Review:

"Tell me," he said, "how soon will they shoot me?"
"It might be a long time," said O'Brien. "You are a difficult case. But don't give up hope. Everyone is cured sooner or later. In the end we shall shoot you."

I have a whole collection of books that are on my tbr-shelf, and which I really want to read, but that are also quite daunting to me. Books that I feel like aren't going to come easy to me. Under normal circumstances, reading one of those books can be quite a set-back because they start eating up all of your time and you don't get the read titles that are maybe more exciting at the moment, thus I'm putting off reading those 'difficult' books (they don't necessarily have to be difficult, or seem difficult, it's mostly just a feeling I have about them, or a feeling I develop once I start reading them). The thing is, I've found the perfect method to reading these books anyway: they're my "I'm on the move" books. Meaning that I take them everywhere and I read them in bits and pieces whenever I have time - at university in-between modules, at work during my half-hour breaks, etc - but I'm not making myself read them for a prolonged period of time if I don't feel like it so as to not burn myself out. 1984 was one of those books, as you might have guessed.

The thing is; I'm very happy with my decision to take my time with this book but, saying that, I truly don't want to insinuate that it's boring or unbearable in any way whatsoever. On the opposite, there is always something going on in 1984, at first you are introduced to this scary, new world then you slowly get to understand how fucked up that world is, it is only after this point that the story truly starts. It's quite a brillant story-arc, actually, but, frankly, it's not all that easy to read (at least not for me and at least not when I'm rather exhausted) without any sort of instant gratification for the time investment.

Eventually, the pay-off arrives and all the time you've spent learning about the severity of this world's situation becomes worthwhile. Honestly, the book wouldn't have worked for me if it weren't for its ending but, luckily, the ending was absolutely fantastic. It's harsh and terrible, yes, but also brillant. Suddenly everything comes together and Orwell manages to really, truly convey how absolutely terrible everything you've read before is - any sort of disconnection from the story (and I'm positive that most readers would be somewhat disconnected from the 'reality' of what Orwell describes in the beginning) is suddenly and harshly mended.

Therefore, if there is anything I'd tell a future reader of this book it would be this, don't try shoving this one down all at once but take your time and persevere to the end. It will be worth it. But be warned that this book isn't one for the faint-hearted.

"Don't you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it. Every concept that can ever be needed will be expressed by exactly one word, with its meaning rigidly defined and all its subsidiary meanings rubbed out and forgotten. Already, in the Eleventh Edition, we're not far from that point. But the process will still be continuing long after you and I are dead. Every year fewer and fewer words, and the range of consciousness always a little smaller. Even now, of course, there's no reason or excuse for committing thoughtcrime. It's merely a question of self-discipline, reality-control. But in the end there won't be any need even for that. The Revolution will be complete when the language is perfect. Newspeak is Ingsoc and Ingsoc is Newspeak," he added with a sort of mythical satisfaction. "Has it ever occurred to you, Winston, that by the year 2050, at the very latest, not a single human being will be alive who could understand such a conversation as we are having now?"

Rating:

My initial reaction was: "supremely depressing and also excellent", which I totally stand by. 4.5 out of 5 stars.

Details:

Name: Nineteen Eighty-Four
Deutscher Titel: 1984
Author: George Orwell
Publisher: Penguin Books
Pages: 336
Where?: Amazon (English edition), Amazon (deutsche Ausgabe)

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