oooo… Another classic and “must read”. This time its Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future in 1984. We follow the story of Winston Smith a single member of the party and working in the Ministry of truth. His activities lead him to consider rebelling against the ideals of the party and to have thoughts which detail the same. He develops a relationship with a co-worker and in the end is captured and tortured by the thought police.
What is deeply unnerving about this work is the remarkable prescience it shows for the society in which we live. Within the novel we are treated to a couple of substantial excerpts from a book by the leading rebel voice: “Goldstein”. We are never sure whether to believe in his existence or not and by the end of the book, much like life for Winston we don’t really know up from down and left from right. These excerpts read like essays and I guess thats what they are and in my view the book flows from these essays. They provide the structure and basis on which the novel stands. They provide us with a way of thinking about war and “class” which pretty much holds for the way the west does business with the World in the current era.
This is the point at which the novel turns away from being a straightforward tale to being a startling and sober look at the kind of society in to which we could unconsciously fall. Ostensibly there is little in the way between the western society of 2014 and Orwells vision in 1984 and if we add some nuance from Burgess’ novel “Clockwork Orange”, one could become quite concerned.
In the end I believe that this book stands as a brilliant work of fiction forcing us to look at ourselves without the delusion of the ideal that we are so much more advanced than our forebears. Progress? really?