May 01 2007


Category: BooksChrisM @ 4:03 pm

1984 – George Orwell

This is one of those ‘must-reads’ for anyone who occasionally dips into the odd book or two.
It can be read on a few different levels, just like Orwell’s Animal Farm.
As a straight novel, the storyline is compelling, and keeps your interest right to the end, even if it is a little predictable in places.
As a political essay on facism and totalitarianism, the underlying message can be a little blunt at times, but nowhere near as bad as Animal Farm. (Review on that book coming later)
I’m pretty sure he wrote the novel in 1948 (swap the 4 & 8 to get 84…), and he appears to have imagined what the world could come to, given the current political situations across the world, post WWII, as he was penning the story.
Even without reading this novel, most people will have come across references to it, be it from the UK ‘comedy’ series Room 101, or even Big Brother, the much-franchised ‘reality’ TV show. I wonder how many obsessed viewers of this show even know where the phrase comes from?
Although Orwell was apparently in favour of a Socialist system, I do sometimes wonder whether he is referring to the events in Russia, post-revolution, when it comes to the corruption of the revolutionary process by the original instigators, to the point that the idealogies underlying the original motivation for change are themselves re-moulded into a quite different end-point.
The plot follows the life of one particular citizen of this future landscape, and his innermost feelings regarding the state of the world,and what may be to come. Love, sabotage, distrust & betrayal are all common themes throughout the book, and parts towards the end may be a little harrowing for very young readers.
I read this book last year, having not read it in about 14 years, and was (pleasantly) surprised how much I still wanted to read it to the very last page – I normally can’t last a whole novel, if I’ve read it in the past at all.

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