Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell

Chosen by Becks

Political satirist George Orwell’s nightmarish vision of a totalitarian, bureaucratic world and one man’s attempt to find individuality..

⫸ “Winston Smith is both an anti-hero and an everyday man who re-writes history for a living. He lives in Oceania in an apartment where the all-seeing leader, Big Brother, can observe his every day activities via a telly screen. There are no freedoms, no liberties, not even to say how one truly feels for fear of being vaporised by the thought police.

Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.

“This is Nineteen Eighty Four. Set in 1984. Written in 1947 when such things as telly screens and Speak Writes did not exist, though the atrocities of Hitler and Stalin were firmly in Orwell’s mind.

“It is therefore no surprise that freedom and enslavement are at the heart of the story. Via Winston’s life, Orwell warns us what can eventuate if we allow absolute power to reign again; if we allow our rights to freedom and free speech to be eroded. He builds real places, real characters, real predicaments and places them in a dystopian reality where Government has total control over everyone’s day-to-day thoughts, actions and relationships. It is hard not to transport yourself and feel the desperation and the urge to rebel that Winston does.

⫸ “I was a Nineteen Eighty Four virgin before this bookclub and as I put something into words I realise the book has stirred up many emotions in me. I mean, wow what a truly scary book! I found it fascinating especially with my first read being at a time when its seems so relevant.

“I was left feeling acutely saddened by the idea that an entire population could so easily be brainwashed. This made me look at our reality in a whole new light. Is this happening to us in today’s world? Is the coverage of world events we are fed through our media subjective? What of the information we are bombarded with via social media? Is this not a form of brainwashing and censorship?  This book has raised many questions in me.

“I can see how Nineteen Eighty Four has been an influential novel not only for the dystopian novels that followed it, but for us all.” – Jodie

⫸ “I loved reading Nineteen Eighty Four again, but there was a sense of disappointment attached this time – because I knew I could never feel the same shocked delight I experienced on my first reading.

“Although I knew the story, and knew what was coming, and there was no shock value, what I still did marvel at was Orwell’s incredible ability to invent such a unique and enthralling world that felt so close to home. Winston is a likeable character whom I felt I understood, and that is important to me when reading fiction. His situation is unbearable and impossible to overcome and I felt this intensely.

“Without spoiling anything, this reading also reminded me how perfect the ending is.” – Jo

⫸ “After becoming spellbound with Nineteen Eighty Four as a teenager, I have grown up considering how small aspects of the story were evident in real life. In current times, where liberties have been tightened due to global events, I feel as though Nineteen Eighty Four is more relevant than ever. And that is scary.

“But Orwell is not prophetic, rather he wrote a timeless novel about leaders at their worst and human beings at their weakest, something that is completely relatable when studying the world history of events. A clever man who has written a warning in fiction, and something that can, literally, change the world.” – Rachel

Published 1947
Secker & Walburg
298 pages

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