Wednesday 19 April 2017

1984 by George Orwell

I've wanted to read this book for a very long time. Somehow I missed having to read it at school, and it's always better when you don't have to read a book.

Written in 1949, about the year 1984, thus futuristic, that's all I knew about this book before I picked it up. The protagonist, Winston Smith lives in Airstrip One, a province of Oceania, in what was Great Britain before.

It's eerie, dark and chilling. Big Brother is Watching You. The Ministry of Truth and the Thought Police. Children spying on parents and reporting them. Newspeak and War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery and Ignorance is Strength. Of course, Winston is invited to be part of a kind of revolution and we all wonder whether he will break out and become a leader in a new society, truly free.

Yet the book is easy to read, the plot shoots through the dull concrete world of people living almost automated existences like an arrow, and you find yourself hoping against hope that Winston will win.

It's amazing to think that George Orwell dreamed up a telescreen that disseminated information and also spied on the general population. Also fascinating in 2017, when we think of Kellyanne Conway's "alternative facts" and allegations that microwave ovens can spy on us.

I'm glad I read it, and I am astounded at the ideas, and world that Orwell created from the environment he lived in 1949.

Onwards and upwards to The Handmaid's Tale, Animal Farm and A Brave New World.

4 stars


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