Letter: Bitter Orange aftertaste

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The Independent Online
I agree with Blake Morrison ("Vecks, Droogs and Roles", Review, 21 April) that it's time to stick up for that "menacing" book. As a schoolboy of 14 I remember my Russian teacher suggesting that a good way to learn this new vocabulary was by reading A Clockwork Orange, which was narrated in a nonce language based on Russian words. I doubt if many of my classmates took his advice or, if they did, made it past the first page. Certainly none of our parents complained. But then, this was 1971.

When Stanley Kubrick's film appeared the following year, it was a different story. Too young to see the film we returned to the book to see what the fuss was about. Again, not many of us persevered with the "Joyceanly queer" language to find the "good bits". Only later did I appreciate the moral paradox Anthony Burgess had carefully played out. Now, more than 20 years later, having never seen the film but understanding its imperfect relationship to the book, I no longer have any desire to see it - with or without Dutch subtitles!

Ian Whittingham

South Darenth, Kent