Author: George Orwell
First Published: 8th June 1949
Genre: Dystopia/ Modern Classics
Among the seminal texts of the 20th century, Nineteen Eighty-Four is a rare work that grows more haunting as its futuristic purgatory becomes more real. Published in 1949, the book offers political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one poor stiff’s attempt to find individuality. The brilliance of the novel is Orwell’s prescience of modern life—the ubiquity of television, the distortion of the language—and his ability to construct such a thorough version of hell. Required reading for students since it was published, it ranks among the most terrifying novels ever written.
I find it incredibly hard to rate books like this because there is just so much to appreciate. As a work of literature, it is a masterpiece. In terms of enjoyment though, I’m not sure how much I enjoyed reading it for fun. I think when I read it I rushed it a little bit.
What I enjoy about books like 1984 are the links that the books has with our world today. I found I highlighted several sections in the book which resonsated with life in the 21st century. For example, in the discussion of capitalism, there are references to “producing vast quantities of goods then setting fire to them” which reminds me of the scandal involving Burberry burning unsold goods to avoid them being sold on at reduced prices. This links even more to the impact of fast fashion and the desperation of manufacturing cheap goods which is polluting our planet. The greed is astonishing and makes me feel very uneasy.
The Orwellian (I think the use of this word goes to show the impact of Orwell’s works on culture) notion of “if the facts say otherwise then the facts must be altered”, the constant revision of history my the Ministry of Truth is so scary because we see this so often in politics all around the world. The rise of “fake news”, political spin doctors, denial of facts, it is terrifying. It is corrupt.
This book really got me thinking and I do think it is an important one that everyone should read once in their lifetime.