I’m trying to read one literary classic a year. I took on George Orwell’s 1984 in 2012. Wow. I now understand so many of the cultural references to this classic work.
This is a dark book. Fascinating and thought-provoking, but dark. I can’t say that I would recommend it to everyone (definitely not for children!), but as a cultural reference point, it is an interesting read. I made myself not do any background or commentary reading on the book, until I was finished. After I had finished the book, I read the Wikipedia article on 1984 and I was even more intrigued. I won’t even pretend to try to untie all the knots and explain all of the imagery in this epic dystopia. 😉
I really enjoyed the narrative parts of the book that tell the story of Winston and Julia (with the exception of Orwell’s tendency toward the graphically violent or sexually inappropriate). I didn’t enjoy as much, the section describing when Winston is given “The book” and reads through the history of ‘The Party” and “The Resistance” and “The reason for unending war”. That was was just too cumbersome and hard to follow at parts.
Overall, this is a very intriguing read. However, I think that Orwell could have done without the more base sections and still have produced a deeply thought provoking work that would have still been a timeless classic.