So begins probably the single most important works of literature in the Twentieth Century. Nineteen Eighty-Four is the book which characterises an age of dictatorship and control, haunts us with inconvenient truths, and offers a warning to anyone seeking to further centralise control. Where Animal Farm is subtitled A Fairy Story, Nineteen Eighty-Four might as well be classified a nightmare. For what it presents, above all else, is the nightmare of all free thinking individuals: a homogonous and all encompassing state in such complete control of every aspect of the life of every citizen that it is no longer even possible to think freely, let alone communicate that thought to anyone.
Winston Smith is a party man, loyal and dedicated. Deep inside the Ministry of Truth he rewrites the past to fit the current party line. With a flash of his pen news stories are transformed, lives deleted, events fabricated. But inside, Winston struggles against the totalitarian state, and dreams of freedom. Then, one day he begins an affair with a fellow worker named Julia, and in the midst of their romance, he begins to realise how much truth and beauty still exists outside the all-seeing eye of Big Brother. But in such a state, can love even exist? Does Big Brothers control even extend into the realms of love? And if not, what price must Winston pay to let his heart and head be free?
In a world of Newspeak, where Big Brother watches over every act of daily life, and the punishment for transgression might lie in interrogation Room 101, does Winston’s rebellion have any chance of success? And if not, does it matter?
No book more defines the middle part of the Twentieth Century than Nineteen Eighty-Four. It is a portrait of a world on the brink, a warning of what could follow, a call to arms for people everywhere. And it is also a thoroughly exciting story. There is furtive sex in a forest in the middle of nowhere, a chase through the back streets of
It is not so much that our world can be seen in the dystopia of
Few novels can compete with the sheer number of phrases which have crossed over into popular usage, and few novels tell a story which offers a more passionate call for freedom of thought and speech than George Orwell’s final masterpiece. Nineteen Eighty-Four is essential reading in every possible sense, and with such an engrossing plot, you will love reading it too.
9.5 out of 10