The year 1984 has come and gone, but George Orwell’s prophetic, nightmarish vision in 1949 of the world we were becoming is timelier than ever. 1984 is still the great modern classic of “negative utopia”—a startlingly original and haunting novel that creates an imaginary world that is completely convincing, from the first sentence to the last four words. No one can deny the novel’s hold on the imaginations of whole generations, or the power of its admonitions—a power that seems to grow, not lessen, with the passage of time.
When I first started reading this I could tell immediately that there would be many similarities to Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and while I wasn’t exactly wrong, I can also see these books also couldn’t be more different. Firstly Brave New World promoted a distinctively more positive future where citizens aren’t free but they’re kept happy at all times whereas 1984 showed a very possible world based on fear, hatred and control, in fact both worlds in both books felt very plausible and likely in their own ways.
I’ll talk about the positives first, it was clear when things really started to get going here that Orwell was a brilliant man with amazingly accurate ideas of where society is heading and to me, how the masses like to always take an easier route even when that route is full of lies, I mean I’m sure many can see it now how humans are eager to do anything for easy power regardless of how it impacts our world and how we believe a lot of the fake news we see on the media. In this culture, both in real life now and in the book, there is also a lot of hate encouraged in society where control is manipulated through hatred of others and fear, but more importantly people are always seeming to take the easy option when it comes to leaders and what they tell us and this is one of the ingredients for a state like that described in this book where there is complete control and nobody knows anything about their world or history. In some ways it was actually a little chilling seeing that this is where our society could end up one day with the direction we are heading in now and the choices world leaders are making.
The psychological aspects in this book as I said, were immaculately realised and totally believable as well as dark and grim in every way possible. I could just imagine this world being all grey with a hopeless grey haze over everything and everyone as well as the way the people live with big brother and all their propaganda. The paranoia and fear were practically burning off the pages and even I cannot really imagine what it must feel like knowing you’re being watched every second and your every move is being controlled. I’m not the only one who says this bleak world is quite plausible and it is even easier to believe this could happen with the rise of technology and the people who are in power today…
What I didn’t get on with so well in this book was the characters and the writing style, both of these were what made me lose interest from time to time and I will say here that overall, despite the incredible detail, this book dragged and was a struggle to finish. The characters lacked basically all depth and qualities about them making it really hard for me to enjoy their journeys which only really improved in the end. I also didn’t quite get on with the way this was written as I found the narrative really dense and dull in most places which was probably intended as this was supposed to be a depressing book but mostly I just found it boring 😛
In the end I will say I enjoyed this book even though some parts I struggled with and it is certainly worth a read because of the large scope of the authors ideas. This is not a happy book with a happy ending though as the author did not shy from making this as hopeless and bleak as possible which fitted well but the writing could have been made more exciting. I will probably reread this again one day in the future as this was just so interesting.. definitely has reinstalled my love for the dystopian genres!
Who I’d recommend this for
Anyone who likes dystopian fiction and hasn’t read this book already BUT also those who have a lot of patience because as I said this is not told in a particularly enjoyable manner as I didn’t find the writing style really immersive. But this is definitely worth a read to all those interested in hard dystopias, classics and books that present thought provoking ideas about our world.