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1. Shakespeare
2. A Dead Man in Deptford (Burgess,
3. The Real Life of Anthony Burgess
4. Joysprick: Introduction to the
5. Honey for the Bears (Norton Paperback
6. The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan
7. One Hand Clapping: A Novel
8. The Wanting Seed (Norton Paperback
9. A Clockwork Orange
10. Man of Nazareth
11. Shakespeare
12. Re Joyce
13. Nothing Like the Sun (Norton Paperback
14. Earthly Powers
15. The Kingdom of the Wicked (Signed,
16. Tremor of Intent: A Novel
17. M/F
18. 1985
19. The Doctor is Sick
20. Mouthful of Air; Language, Languages

1. Shakespeare
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 256 Pages (2002-02-09)
list price: US$13.00 -- used & new: US$9.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786709723
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description

Like Burgess's early novel, Nothing Like the Sun: A Story of Shakespeare's Love-Life, this equally delightful factual treatment of what we know of the Bard combines Burgess's stimulating erudition and his well-informed imagination. The result is at once a speculative biography, a theatrical history, and a re-creation of the Elizabethan age. Whether a vivid retracing of the evolution Elizabethan theater, a bravura reconstruction of the first performance of Hamlet, an infiltration of the intricacies of the court of the Virgin Queen, or an elegy on the era's end with the distrastrous Essex Rebellion, Burgess -- author of the classic A Clockwork Orange -- sets the stage for England's most glorious time and turns the spotlight on the figure of William Shakespeare. "Animated by affection and an understanding of the creative imagination that only a creative writer can bring to bear."—Atlantic Monthly "A smooth-flowing narrative, often enlivened by Anthony Burgess's Joycean appetite for linguistic fantasy."—Economist "Bright, racy...knowledgeable and humorous, alternately sensible and quirky."—Terry Eagleton, Commonweal "Burgess's wonderfully well-stocked mind and essentially wayward spirits are just right for summoning up an apparition of the Bard...."—Daily Telegraph
... Read more

Customer Reviews (10)

4-0 out of 5 stars An enjoyable read, at the least
Perhaps the most distinctive and pleasing element of Burgess' book lies not in its ability to inform by dissecting the "raw facts" of history, but rather in its reflection of one accomplished writer's speculative musings on the great--yet altogether elusive--details of the life of one of his literary heroes. In this playful biographical study, the author pieces together the scant surviving historical accounts of the life of The Bard and acknowledges them as the thin and inadequate skeleton that they are for framing the life behind the greatest playwright of all time. Then he effusively fills in the gaps with his own informed guesses and imaginative theories. The Shakespeare that Burgess portrays is one who may or may not have been real, but who commodiously satisfies the personal questions that plain history leaves disappointingly unanswered.

The extent to which Burgess' guesses often digress into the realm of fantasy and grandiose myth will inevitably elicit a cringe or two from the reader; however, the book is altogether an enjoyable read and does an excellent job of placing Shakespeare and his works in a historical context that fans of his plays and poems might not otherwise consider. Personally, I could hardly put it down. The book certainly enabled me to see some of my favorite plays in a new light and instilled me with an eagerness to read or reread several of his works.

4-0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare's Ghost
Anthony Burgess's biography of Shakespeare makes for riveting reading.However, the reader arguably learns more about Queen Elizabeth and the Earl of Essex than about the elusive Mr. Shakespeare.

In fact, Shakespeare makes only occasional and shadowy appearances in this bio as if he were the ghost of Hamlet's father (which he is, in a sense).Burgess doesn't hesitate to put his own stylish and imaginative spin on what little we know about Shakespeare, though if he were to shed any more light the shadow would disappear.

Nevertheless, by coupling his considerable breadth of learning with documentary evidence, Burgess manages to accomplish what I think he sets out to accomplish in writing this book - that upon completion the reader will say with certainty, "Shakespeare did exist."

4-0 out of 5 stars Short Biography Some Fiction, Mostly Facts
Recently I decided to try and learn something about Shakespeare. So I have made up a reading list and posted the 20 plus books in a "Listmania" list. I am making my way through the list and actually started with this particular book first.

This is an excellent introduction to the life of William Shakespeare covering his life almost year by year from birth in Stratford around 1564 through to his death in Stratford in 1616. The book is quite general and describes his family, his wife, his children, his investments, life in London, the famines, the plagues, the theatres, Queen Elizabeth, the transition to King James, etc. It does not go into any detail on the plays - but paints a broader picture. The main fault that you might be aware of with this book is that occasionally there is speculation substituted or inserted as fact. So it is hard to know what is fact and what is fiction. But I get the impression that overall it is not far off.

One thing not understood widely about William Shakespeare was that he was gifted and energetic playwright while being a good businessman. There were about a dozen well know play writers in his day. Unlike many other artists, he was able to create fine works while making a lot of money so he had a certain degree of independence along with admiration both from the general public and the English nobles and patrons. Some of the other writers had to "dumb down" there work to try and broaden their appeal to draw an audience. But he seems to have avoided that syndrome. He was almost an instant success at the Rose theater in London around 1590 and he stood above all his contemporaries including Marlow and Ben Johnson.

The book does an excellent job of communicating the life and times both political and also covers some of the more common mundane details about life in England and London during that period. Interestingly there is lots of factual information from Stratford and London and on the Rose, and the Globe theaters still available in court records and general accounting ledgers kept while the business were in operation from roughly 1590 to 1613, the date the Globe burned to the ground. Shakespeare was in his prime roughly from1590 (starting at the Rose then making the transition to the new Globe - where he had a financial interest in 1598 approx). He wrote through the time of the transition from Queen Elizabeth to King James (1603), and then he tapered off.

Shakespeare retired around 1610 buying land around his native Stratford, and died in 1616. His last 10-12 years of writing were mainly at the Globe, and in fact some manuscripts were lost in the fire of 1613 at the Globe. Shakespeare died in 1916 and left small gifts to two associates Hemings and Condell among others. In 1623 these two published the "First Folio" a collection of all of Shakespeare's plays except for two plays. This publication contained a note from Ben Johnson. This Folio was put together by theatre men from "The Kings Men" - the name of the actors doing his plays for Shakespeare, so the book contains the closest texts of the plays available, with no alterations by professional editors.

This is an entertaining and excellent read on his personal life and what he was doing and thinking, and the political climate, as each play was written. Anthony Burgess keeps our attention, provides lots of details, and relates the life of Shakespeare to his works in a masterful chronological tale. This book is more of an "estimate" or guess of his biography, mostly fact, but with some fiction added. It is weak on an analysis of his works but that was not the intent of the book.

Recommended reading: "Will in the World" by Stephen Greenblatt.

2-0 out of 5 stars Disappointing and out of date
I read this on the strength of Burgess' excellent bio of Joyce, RE: JOYCE, and I was rather disappointed. Yes, it includes some valuable historical background, but the sections on Shakespeare's life were speculative at best, and at worst factually wrong. For example, he writes:

"I feel that in the last years Shakespeare took music more seriously that he had been able to in his working days. . . . I see, or rather hear, the Shakespeare family sitting around the table in the drawing room of New Place, with one of those madrigal scores open before them. . . . Susanna, I think, was a clear soprano, a clever sight-reader. Judith had not much of a voice and was so slow at picking up a part that she became a dumb listener. Hall, the son-in-law, was a bass. Anne was a grave contralto. Will was certainly a tenor." (252)

Entertaining perhaps. But based on what historical evidence? None. Pure speculation. Unfortunately, such passages are all too typical.

More seriously, Burgess perpetuates several myths about Shakespeare that have been completely discredited. Burgess claims that Shakespeare's father was a Puritan (20). In fact, documentary evidence has proved that his father was a Catholic. Burgess claims that "Ann Whateley of Temple Grafton" was a real person, when it is well-established that this is a scribal error for Anne Hathaway, Shakespeare's wife (57). Burgess also repeats the myth that Anne Hathaway was an "spinster" (at 26!), desperate to get married, who tricked Shakespeare into getting married by getting herself pregnant by him (57-8). Again, where's the evidence? Burgess presents the allegations of the "Baines libel" about Marlowe as historical fact (101), when Baines and Kyd had reasons of self-interest to repeat and exaggerate the rumors swirling around Marlowe, after he died and was unable to defend himself. Burgess also perpetuates the myth that Shakespeare wrote "his plays straight off, without drafts." In fact, the several, quite different, published versions of his plays may well represent different drafts. And the long playscripts of the folio must have been abridged for performance, probably by Shakespeare himself.

The student who reads Burgess's biography is in danger of making a fool out of him or herself by repeating these out-dated Shakespeare myths. There are better alternatives, especially Park Honan's excellent bio, or Stephen Greenblatt's recent WILL IN THE WORLD.

5-0 out of 5 stars a good find
I came into a fine hardcover copy of this book at the Toronto Public Library book sale. It beats me why it was being discarded. I would think for lack of interest from the library-goers of Toronto? The card at the back says it was last taken out on February 10, 1975 by a Grade 9 student!

This Shakespeare biography, from Anthony Burgess no less, offers an excellent view on the life of the Bard. My family received as a gift The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (leatherbound, gilt-edged, illustrated, Chatham River Press). Burgess's biography complements the Complete Works only too perfectly.

This first edition is filled with excellent illustrations, paintings, woodcuts, engravings and drawings. Certainly a treasure to keep for decades more. ... Read more

2. A Dead Man in Deptford (Burgess, Anthony)
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 272 Pages (2003-03)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$8.75
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786711523
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
With A Dead Man in Deptford, Burgess concluded his literary career to overwhelming acclaim for his re-creation of the Elizabethan poet Christopher Marlowe. In lavish, pitch-perfect, and supple, readable prose, Burgess matches his splendid Shakespeare novel, Nothing Like the Sun. The whole world of Elizabethan England-from the intrigues of the courtroom, through the violent streets of London, to the glory of the theater-comes alive in this joyous celebration of the life of Christopher Marlowe, murdered in suspicious circumstances in a tavern brawl in Deptford more than four hundred years ago. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

4-0 out of 5 stars Well worth it to immerse into Marlowe's world
Meticulously researched and fulfilling Burgess's quest to write a novel on Christopher Marlowe (upon whom he had written his university thesis while the Luftwaffe created a new meaning to Dr. Faustus's visions of hell), this novel offers a compelling, intriguing and intricate examination into the enigma that is Kit Marlowe.

It is almost cliche in reviews of historical fiction novels to say the author brought the sights and sounds of their time period to life but Burgess is able to take the reader on an absorbing sensory tour of Elizabethan London that tends to stick to your skin even after putting the book down. He presents Marlowe in the same manner, crafting all the many facets of his character; sympathetic, critical, flawed, fun-loving carouser. For those of us fascinated with Marlowe; whether it is the mystery of his murder, his being in Shakespeare's shadow or the works that he never got to create; whatever your reason, this book should be on your must read list. Admittedly novels on Marlowe are few and far between, especially in comparison to those on Shakespeare (including Burgess's own novel "Nothing Like the Sun" which is not as good as this but a good companion to this book), but this one stands above and has become my measuring stick. The reviewer from the Scotsman (Edinburgh) stated it most aptly - "His Kit Marlowe is a wonder to behold."

Burgess's use of Elizabethan/Early Modern English and dialogue heavy style may put off and/or confuse some readers. He does not use quotations, instead he uses indentations and dashes with rare references to the speaker. This can be a bit disconcerting at first but once you get into the flow and rhythm it only adds to your immersion in Marlowe's world."

5-0 out of 5 stars Elizabethan intrigue
Anthony Burgess is a masterful novelist whose playful sense of linguistics informs this wonderful novel that speculates about the life and death of Shakespeare's contemporary, the playwright Christopher Marlowe.Burgess has steeped himself in the history and language of Elizabethan times, and the result is a completely successful evocation of that era in all its beauty and horror, with its philosophic adventurers bravely seeking truth and its dogmatic religious authorities plunging nations into war.Intellectually challenging and emotionally moving, this is one of the finest novels I have read in quite a while.

4-0 out of 5 stars Worth the effort
You need a degree of perseverance, but it's well worth it. Oh - and you also need a broad mind; some of the descriptions are disturbing.

Burgess writes in a form of Elizabethan/Early Modern English which can become irritating at times. His insistence on name variation can become repetitive - I really don't need to know how many versions there are of Marlowe, Shakespeare, Poley et al every time they are mentioned.

I am no Marlowe expert - which is partly why I read the book, and re-reading of 'Nothing Like the Sun' I found annoying - but it seems to me to be well researched and the explanation of Marlowe's death seemed to me to be convincing.

The supposed author is only referred to in the final chapter and I now have to discover who he is. This might normally annoy me, but I like a challenge and I hope that the internet will provide the answer.

5-0 out of 5 stars Which Marlowe are we talking about? Oh, that one.
O O O O that Marlovian Rag-
So incredible
Even bed-able

5-0 out of 5 stars Elizabethan!
First time I read this book I considered it pretty much a bunch of sex scenes strung together withphilosophical ramblings.Later I went back to it for another try, and I'm glad I did.It's an incredible book.It *feels* Elizabethan, not just in the language, not just in the historical accuracy, but in every detail of the characters' thought and sensibility that's typical of Burgess at the very top of his game.It also makes amends (in plenty) for anyone who was disgusted by the attitude toward homosexuality portrayed in The Wanting Seed (in fact, remembering that Burgess had written this book was the only thing that kept me from flinging TWS across the room, well, that and the fact that it was a library book).Readers interested in Marlowe will also find an insightful if maybe not totally groundbreakingly original view of his philosophy, life and plays and the relationship between them. ... Read more

3. The Real Life of Anthony Burgess
by Andrew Biswell
Paperback: 400 Pages (2007-04-01)
list price: US$16.95 -- used & new: US$4.49
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0330481711
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

The first comprehensive life of English novelist, critic, and composer Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange. Admired worldwide for his literary novels, including the masterpiece Earthly Powers, Anthony Burgess also achieved notoriety for the ultra-violent shocker, A Clockwork Orange. In this new biography, Andrew Bisswell charts Burgess' life from his solitary and motherless childhood to his triumphant emergence as a writer, critic, and composer. He also casts new light on Burgess' complicated relationship with director Stanley Kubrick, looks with sensitivity at his tempestuous first marriage, and explores his erotic entanglements with Graham Greene and William Burroughs. Drawing on extensive interviews, unpublished writings, letters, and diaries, The Real Life of Anthony Burgess reveals both the writer and the man as never before.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars First Read "Little Wilson" & "You've Had Your Time"...
...then read this engaging biography, and try and sort the wheat of truth from the chaff of exaggerations, confabulations, untruths and half-truths. It's tricky, but Biswell does a creditable job of ensuring we see the real difference between the John Wilson of lower-class Manchester and 'Anthony Burgess', the literary creation who paraded as critic and commentator.

The wide scope of the Burgess canon has long been ignored in favor of the the cheap Kubrick-visualized thrills of "A Clockwork Orange". To understand where the inspiration came from, and how it may be seen by a disinterested third-party, this biography is invaluable. But, as others have said, I was left wondering what became of Paolo Andrea (aka "Andrew Burgess Wilson") and why a slim final chapter covered the last 15 years of the author's life with relatively little detail.

5-0 out of 5 stars On the mark ,Mr Biswell
Biswell does a what alot of writers of biographies don't do;he offers a very balanced view of the life of Anthony Burgess. Now of course Anthony Burgess himself sort of "bears all" in his two volume autobiogrhy(ies?) . What Biswell does is show what Burgess may have tried to conceal.He doesn't do a hatchet job,he doesn't put a knife into the memory of Burgess.But he also does show where Burgess did sort of "fudge" the facts a bit. Not that Burgess tried to make himself into a saint, I find that Burgess revealed quite of bit of his own personal foibles and follies. If one is a writer one should live more of an interesting life than most people (or at least that is my opinion) . Biswell gives the reader a good view into the life of this writer(who is best known for the book CLOCKWORK ORANGE) and sort of "fleshes" the man out more. Most readers,who only connect the name of Burgess to the book CLOCKWORK ORANGEdoesn't know is that this author was a very multifaceted man. He was a composer or music,a writer,an teacher, a linguist.
Of course I really respect the works of Anthony Burgess so I am biased. But I would say if someone wants to know something about this author they should get a copy of Biswell's book . For with this book a person would get a very through introduction to Burgess's works,to Burgess the person and also a decent book on 20th century history (the expanse of time in which Burgess himself had lived through anyway). Not often one can get a "three for" .

4-0 out of 5 stars Unravelling fact from fiction
Anthony Burgess was a major English novelist of C20 and, after Graham Greene, the leading Catholic novelist of the time writing in English. Lapsed though he was, Burgess's Catholic worldview - his obsession with Good vs. Evil, Original Sin (the only Catholic doctrine for which there is irrefutable empirical evidence) and Free Will - is the dominant theme of his best novels: the 'Enderby' Quartet,'Earthly Powers' and the controversial, 'A Clockwork Orange' - the book by which he is now best known and remembered even by those who don't read, thanks to Stanley Kubrick's movie version. He wrote over 30 novels, hundreds of essays and reviews, and two volumes of (less than entirely truthful) autobiography - one commentator has described the latter two books ('Little Wilson and Big God' and 'You've Had Your Time') as among the best fiction Burgess wrote. Andrew Biswell does a good job distentangling the fact from fiction - Burgess was a compulsive self-publicist and in the many interviews he gave created a fascinating character, who bore a passing resemblance to the real John Burgess Wilson. Biswell casts doubt on the miraculous recovery from a brain tumour, and points out the improbability of Burgess travelling to France as a teenager to get a copy of 'Ulysses' (a story which Wikipedia adopts, unquestioningly, as part of the Burgess myth). He also produces a comprehensive survey of Burgess's literary output and demonstrates how little he invented and how much of his own life he poured into his characters. So much so, that a early novel ('The Worm and Ring') had to be withdrawn by the publisher following a libel action. However, although this book is a vast improvement on Lewis's nasty biography, and provides much useful imformation it is not the definitive life. Two topics are poorly covered. Firstly, Burgess's music. His first wife condemned his "amateurish" efforts as a composer. Is his music (rarely performed) any good? Biswell does not discuss Burgess's own account of how he wrote a symphony, 'This Man and Music'. Secondly, while Burgess's first marriage to the alcoholic Lynne is dissected in painful detail (down to listing the various public houses from which she was banned and the men she slept with), we are told very little about his second marriage, to the saintly(?) Liana (now herslf recently deceased) and, as a previous reviewer has noted, nothing is said about the suicide of his son Paolo. Liana is described in one account quoted by Biswell as "vague" and, perhaps, as noted below, vagueness was the price the author had to pay for her cooperation. There is a vast Burgess archive to be mined (scattered, it appears, between Manchester, Angers and Austin,TX), unpublished love letters and poetry to be extracted from private sources, to say nothing of the neglected musical scores. Until the day when a first class literary biographer teams up with a musicologist to give us a five star life and works of Anthony Burgess, this will have to do.

5-0 out of 5 stars Essential Burgess Reading
This biography was rivetting for me from start to finish. After suffering Roger Lewis'spathetic bookwritten in a state ofrage at Burgess's mere existence, this new Bio was very much welcomed. If you want a good balanced & detailed account of AB's life & work look no further.

4-0 out of 5 stars BURGESSIAN RHAPSODY
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?

Returned from holiday, where this book proved to be good company for a good few days, a dismissive and ill-informed review in today's Guardian (London, 3 December, 2005) prompts me to spring to its defence. Because, though this new biography undoubtedly has its faults, there is no way in the world it is `a dull book', as Guardian critic, Anthony Thwaite, would have us believe. Personally, I found this book to be a distinct improvement on Roger Lewis' recent biography, which to my mind was overloaded with far too many chunks of Burgess's own extant prose, seemingly as space fillers. (Roger Lewis's only saving grace, it seems to me, was in suggesting that the Burgess persona is itself the author's most convincing fictional creation.)

On the plus side, this most recent biography is written by a Burgess aficionado (which Roger Lewis most certainly was not), so it is to the author's credit that he chooses to reiterate this truism about Burgess that was first postulated by his biographical predecessor. (See page 306, where Deborah Regan, Burgess's literary agent since 1987 says: 'The distinction between life and fantasy was completely blurred.') In addition to this the author goes on to provide us with a multitude of fresh insights into Burgess's life story via contributions from former colleagues, friends, acquaintances, and writers - Robert Graves' footnoted reminiscence of a remembered Burgessian critique being an absolute gem. And last but not least, the author is generous enough to accord to L. W. Dever, Xaverian's long-serving history master of hallowed memory, the distinction of having introduced Burgess to the work of James Joyce, as opposed to his serving ignominiously and untruthfully (see LITTLE WILSON AND BIG GOD) as a boozing partner pure and simple.

On the minus side, the author is occasionally remiss with regard to Mancunian geography. For example, it is the right bank of the River Irk, not Manchester General Cemetery that is `the western border of [Burgess's birthplace] Harpurhey'. And he is mistaken too in referring to THE (i.e. colloquially there should be no definite article preceding) Lower Park Road, the location of Burgess's secondary school, Xaverian College. In fairness, though, this is not so severe a fault as Anthony Thwaite's imagining Xaverian to be a `Jesuit' school. (Has Anthony Thwaite perhaps not actually read this book - or, indeed, Roger Lewis's book, to say nothing of Burgess's two volumes of autobiography?)

Even so (p.224), it is surely demonstrably unsound for Dr Biswell to say that, amongst the things that so appalled Burgess upon his return to the UK from Malaysia were `sexual permissiveness' and `a falling away of religious belief'. (Burgess can't have it both ways - or can he?)

Imprecision is occasionally irritating too in THE REAL LIFE. On the one hand, the actual plot number of Burgess's mother's grave in Manchester General Cemetery is gratuitously volunteered, whereas the exact location of Burgess's own resting-place in Monaco is not pinpointed in any way.

Was imprecision such as this perhaps the price of access to Burgess's widow, Liana? Is this the reason too why the untimely death of Burgess's son, Paolo Andrea, is nowhere described as a suicide in this book?

This last omission is particularly interesting in view of Burgess's own speculation (page 7) that: `One becomes less able to give affection or take affection - because one never had this early filial experience'. So, did Burgess perhaps blame himself for insensitivity in his relationship with Paolo Andrea? And, if so, is a further volume of Burgessian biography perhaps needed on this account?

But all things considered with regard to THE REAL LIFE OF ANTHONY BURGESS, I would say unhesitatingly, by way of conclusion - paraphrasing Burgess's dedication of THE CLOCKWORK TESTAMENT (to Burt Lancaster, incidentally):

`. . . deserves to be read, deserves to be read.'
... Read more

4. Joysprick: Introduction to the Language of James Joyce (Language Library)
by Anthony Burgess
Hardcover: 187 Pages (1979-07-01)

Isbn: 0233962646
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Burgess at his best
Now I'll probably get every hard-core Joyce scholar upset but this is a great work by a great author.The more I learn about Burgess, the more I find him a real genius.This book is no exception.He's written two books on Joyce, this and ReJoyce.Skip the other.This was written later, a play on Joyce Speak, sprechen (german) past tense sprach I think -- it's been a while. Or pun it as you will, a fun little title conjuring up playful associations that is at the heart of much of Joyce.Burgess sees Joyce, even in Finnegan's Wake, as completely readable and this book shows us how.Burgess also expounds upon what he considers the two types of literature, the bad-plot-driven-ugly-writing stuff and the literature where the author pays attention not only to plot etc, but to language.Burgess once said Nabokov (I paraphrase) didn't have anywhere near the talent of Joyce.Whoa! How to make such a bold statement.Well the book teaches us many things.It's a true gem, this book.If you love Joyce you'll love this. I am still, three weeks after reading it, framing the world and other literature by his insights. ... Read more

5. Honey for the Bears (Norton Paperback Fiction)
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 256 Pages (1996-05-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$4.94
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393314413
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
"There are so few genuinely entertainingnovels around that we ought to cheer wheneverone turns up. Continuous, fizzing energy. . . .Honey for the Bears is atriumph."—Kingsley Amis, New York TimesA sharply written satire, Honey for the Bears sends an unassuming antiques dealer, Paul Hussey, to Russia to do one final deal on the black market as a favor for a dead friend's wife. Even on the ship's voyage across, the Russian sensibility begins to pervade: lots of secrets and lots of vodka. When his American wife is stricken by a painful rash and he is interrogated at his hotel by Soviet agents who know that he is trying to sell stylish synthetic dresses to the masses starved for fashion, his precarious inner balance is thrown off for good. More drink follows, discoveries of his wife's illicit affair with another woman, and his own submerged sexual feelings come breaking through the surface, bubbling up in Russian champagne and caviar.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Fun but not earth-shattering
Not Burgess's best work. My favorite of his is actually On Going to Bed which is his natural history of beds in art and literature. This one...well...I enjoyed the vocabulary and his scene settings (follows through on poetic images of lost teeth in a number of well crafted passages), his references to Tolstoy and other masters of Russian lit., and his dark playfulness. It wasn't intense enough to rival Clockwork Orange and wasn't terse and clearly written enough to rival someone like, say Ian McEwan.

5-0 out of 5 stars Russian to Sell the Satire
Anthony Burgess' "Honey for the Bears," is a fast paced farcical satire set in Cold War period Soviet Russia.Following an antiques dealer and his wife as the two attempt to sell cheep dresses on the black market as a favor to a friend.

Sexual morays and British stereo type stuffiness are thrown out the window as the two find themselves trapped in the Soviet Union with the police on Paul Hussey's trail.On the boat ride over his American wife, Belinda, becomes sick and finds herself hospitalized for a terrible rash.

"Honey for the Bears" satirizes the secret capitalist desires of the Soviet people with a schizophrenic jump between their urges for Western pleasures and at the same time a contempt for the capitalist pigs that cannot even take care of their own people.

Sharp, witty and insightful, Burgess again succeeds in bringing together a dark twisted world that strongly resembles our own.As always, Burgess' mastery of linguistics shines through as he plays games with language and dialects: thus giving his characters a sense of reality.

5-0 out of 5 stars Burgess's best-kept secret
I didn't want to read this book. It was attached to a copy of "A Clockwork Orange" and I figured I might as well. The whole time, I felt both compelled and repelled to go on. However, I loved it more than "A clockwork Orange," and am currently trying to find out more about it. Burgess uses an interesting plot that puts full emphasis on causality and contains many twists and turns that were comical and intriguing. I found myself alternately loving and hating Paul, the main character. The thing that I love about it the most is that what appears is a simple plot is really a statement of burgess's personal resentment for the state. If you're a political kind of person, or you want to learn, this is a great, insightful book.

5-0 out of 5 stars It's ashame that this book isn't more popular...
It is by chance that I read this book.And I don't regret it.I loved Burgess's A Clockwork Orange, and, naturally, I wanted to read more. After looking over the reviews of The Doctor is Sick ,The Complete Mr. Enderby, and The Wanting Seed, I decided I'd look for one of those.I went to the local bookstore, and sadly (or so I thought at the time) they only had one copy of Honey for the Bears, about 7 copies of A Clockwork Orange and a couple of works he did on Shakespeare.I read the summary for Honey for the Bears, andI was uninterested.However, for lack of reading material, I bought it.

It was excellent.Burgess is really talented.Unlike so many other books, this one never gets boring, not even for a second.Taking a journey of self exploration with Paul could not possibly be more entertaining, funny, exciting or meaningful than Burgess makes it.You'll enjoy this book if you like a well constructed plot and interesting story line.This was not in any way Russian babble not worth reading unless Russian yourself.(I'm not Russian, never have been to Russia, and don't know any of the Russian language.I will go even furthur to say that you most certainly don't have to have a great interest in Russia to enjoy this book!) At the risk of sounding cliche, this is just one of those books that entertains you the whole way through.

It's not complete candy though: Burgess used Russian throughout this book, making it a little diffult to understand at times.I had to reread a few parts, but it wasn't a chore at all, and surprisingly, did not bother me.Everything comes together at the end, although is not always what you expect.Delightful.I'm surprised this wasn't made into a movie.

5-0 out of 5 stars One of Bergusse's greatest books...EVER
It is true that this book is underappreciated compared to the other great books of the author like Enderby and A ClockWork Orange nonetheless it's a great piece of fiction.No other book has given us a better description about the Soviet union or it's people.Our hero paul is a guy to be admired and pitied all through the novel.The book is funny,touching and fun to read and remember that the winter has come with it's long dark nights if u dont know what I mean read the story and u will find out. ... Read more

6. The Long Day Wanes: A Malayan Trilogy (The Norton Library)
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 512 Pages (1993-02-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$8.98
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393309436
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A sweetly satiric look at the twilight days ofcolonialism.Set in postwar Malaya at the time when people and governments alike are bemused and dazzled by theturmoil of independence, this three-part novelis rich in hilarious comedy and razor-sharp inobservation. The protagonist of the work isVictor Crabbe, a teacher in a multiracial school in a squalid village, who moves upward inposition as he and his wife maintain a steadydecadent progress backward. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

3-0 out of 5 stars What Everybody Knows about Malaysia
Still the standard thing for expats in Malaysia, and very familiar in its depiction of the various races (so-called) of the country. But its very familiarity should set off alarm bells--why do we all think we "know" these things? In fact the trilogy mystifies the larger picture, whereby the admittedly funny and often spot-on details on the surface and the "universal" human failings (the standard bromide of middlebrow literature) paper over an ignorance about the creation of exactly these "natural" racial categories by British policies, which allowed the British to maintain enormous economic benefits while helping to bring on the Emergency and distorting Malaysian politics to this day. The "timelessness" that we're supposed to see giving way to modernity (through sheer British generosity, of course!) is another cliche about other parts of the world, and a very silly one at that, as though Westerners hold a patent on dynamism or change. For a history teacher Victor Crabbe apparently knows little about history. Burgess, as so often, is linguistically brilliant, funny, and good on the trivial details but not terribly bright in his larger arguments.

5-0 out of 5 stars SUPERB!
I would rate this as my favourite Malaysian novel, even though it was written by a mat salleh (Caucasian) before Malaysia came into existence in 1963. But Anthony Burgess was no ordinary mat salleh: a polymath who never seemed to try too hard, he spent six years of his life here and left behind this novel; lucky us.

For starters, there's the wide range of characters, of every possible Peninsula ethnicity. It's the most vibrant depiction yet of our Truly Asian but multi-racist society. The jokey, pomposity-puncturing allusions to local mores and hypocrisies have not gone stale. Even the Malay names of places are often rude, which is something that the average English reader wouldn't have possibly realised when reading it; so it's like a gift to us.

This novel has not proved popular among humourless local academics, who find it patronising. What they willfully ignore is that the depiction of the whites here is often more scathing, with enough booze and adultery to keep any daytime soap-opera going for months.

Burgess represents varied Malayan voices with a musician's ear, a humourist's lightness of touch, and a wounded idealist's moral rigour. Many of the jokes come from racial caricatures that we can recognise from our daily conversations and from cruder subsequent works.

I don't mean to grant Burgess any divine mythic powers, but it's amazing how eerily prescient the book is. For example, there`s a deathbed controversy of the theological nature, which could have been wrenched straight from today's headlines. But although the mood grows darker (along with Crabbe's) as Merdeka (Independence) approaches, there's still a heedless optimism in the portrayal of how the younger generation chooses to bond.

The Malayan Trilogy is a rambunctious and colourful performance of heat and lust, with the comic bathos of downpours always on hand to quench any potential high-mindedness. It should be made a compulsory text at school, as long as the teachers aren't prudes who will latah (panic and stutter) at the lewd words.

5-0 out of 5 stars A little-known masterpiece
I share others' enthusiasm for this remarkable book.It absolutely captures the complexity of inter-ethnic life in Malaya immediately before Independence (I served there in 1957-58, just after Burgess left, but our family links are much longer).But I think it is a serious mistake to treat it as a novel about the decline and fall of the British Empire.True, that is its setting, but Burgess creates a wonderful range of characters who would enliven any novel, and manages to get inside their skins in a way that is remarkable for an outsider, an "orang puteh".If it were trying to be a precise account of the last days before Merdeka, then it would have to be more balanced and include the others I knew:the English doctor living on the edge of the jungle who treated all patients without asking too many questions; the English plantation manager who "stayed on", was elected to the state legislature after Merdeka, and served with distinction; the Chinese towkays who regretted their sons' youthful mistaken Communist ideology but nevertheless smuggled food out to them in the jungle; the Malay villagers who resented being resettled away from their fields but who welcomed the consequent freedom from extortion and violence; and the Temiar aborigines who informally constituted a wide protective screen around our jungle camp and made our life there possible.But this story is not trying to be a dispassionate historical account.It takes a group of more or less flawed characters and traces them through a complicated period in history.It's brilliant!Read it!

I run hot & cold on Burgess (mainly warmish). This was a burner.

The characters were "real" people with "real" foibles. The humor wasn't forced but found in the out-of-ordinary events of ordinary folks.

This is a great starting place for readers new to Burgess.

5-0 out of 5 stars House of Burgess's
Anthony Burgess was quite a character.Anyone familiar in the least with his life and work or who has read, say, the first volume of his Autobiography is aware of his splendid cussedness. He was also polymathic and erudite in the extreme.He's one of the few writers who read and reread and had (as well as any human being is capable) a grasp of Finnegans Wake - As his alter ego, Crabbe, muses to himself here, "Everything in Finnegans Wake made sense eventually, if one waited for it."---He was also, of course, a gifted composer and many other things.

The motive for my mentioning this personal information is that this "Malayan Trilogy" is highly autobiographical, and it adds verisimilitude (ach, what a dashed clunky but apt word) and zest to the reading of it to know a bit about its author.But, of course, one really need not know a thing about Burgess to enjoy his work.

In it, Burgess, in the form of Crabbe and other characters, doesn't fail to put his interests in language and musical composition etc. on display.But what really makes this book more than a pale copy of a Somerset Maugham work - Crabbe reflects, at one point, that he is the epitome of a character out of a Maugham short story - is the cantankerous humour and brio which enliven the book.It's not MERELY the gin-sodden Brit expats being swallowed into the jungle to which they came, ostensibly, to bring the "rule of law", but also a glowingly absurd and tragic account of the interactions between people and peoples, between husbands and wives, between rulers and ruled, all written in a way that, well, only Burgess could write.

Yes, I agree with the other reviewers, the Amaricanisation of what is now called Malaysia is a sad thing. - No more eccentrics in their linen flannels quaffing gin on their verandahs before noontide. - But, truly, the saddest thing is that there aren't any writers of Burgess's stripe around now to chronicle such things so richly.
... Read more

7. One Hand Clapping: A Novel
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 224 Pages (1999-07-01)
list price: US$12.95 -- used & new: US$0.50
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0786706317
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Used car salesman Howard Shirley is watching England's most popular high-stakes TV quiz show with his wife, Janet, in their modest provincial house when it strikes him that his freakish "photographic brain" might make them an easy fortune. It also leads to first-class travel, luxury hotels, mink coats, some misguided philanthropy, and ultimately, outrageously, and comically, not entirely accidental death. Talkatively and divertingly narrated from Janet's worldly perspective, the tragi-comedy of Howard, his one-of-a-kind mind, and the modern world's trivia and trivialities makes for vintage Burgess -- at once hilarious and provocative. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

3-0 out of 5 stars A fun, early Burgess novel, not ambitious particularly
as compared to the whole new language invented for Clockwork Orange but a decent effort that English readers would indentify with more than Americans and what was the horse racing system?

3-0 out of 5 stars just ok -
Not his best work.A journal of sudden wealth, told first-person by an uneducated English housewife.I found it predictable, and the narrator's voice, funny at first, grew tiresome well before the end.If you've the desire for a good first-person book, read 'A Long Way Down' by Nick Hornby instead.

5-0 out of 5 stars From the rear cover
WHEN an ordinary Joe from a used car mart parleys his photographic brain into a couple of hundred thousand dollars, the fun begins.When ordinary Joe (Howard, really) and his ordinary Janet visit the expensive, exclusive playgrounds of the world, the fun continues.

But when the root of all evil begins to sprout leaves and flowers -- watch out! As Burgess fans already know, behind the smile of the tiger, the jaws bit deep!

From the inside front page...

"The best first thing to do, when you've got a dead body and it's your husband's on the kitchen floor and you don't know what to do about it, is to make yourself a good strong cup of tea.So I put the kettle on and got the tea-things down from the shelf, having to step around Howard to do it. I made myself a really strongpot of tea and I opened a tin of evaporated milk to have with it, more like cream than milk. I don't know why I wanted that instead of milk, normally we just had it with tinned fruit salad, but I felt that I deserved a special cup of tea somehow. Then I sat down in the living-room, sipping this tea and wondering what was best to do. I should really get dressed and go for the police..."

5-0 out of 5 stars Delicious Black Comedy
From the very beginning this book has wit, well defined characterizations and a fine sense of place and atmosphere.
As the story moves along you are taken into the world of the character's loves, hates and desires which ultimately underscores the old saying, "Be careful what you wish for" in a wonderfully delicious black comedy the British seem to do better than most.One is tempted to read it through in one setting because it is hard to wait to find out what will happen next.

5-0 out of 5 stars a slap at the "who wants to be a millionaire?" crowd
One Hand Clapping is a short, bitterly humorous look at a Britishworking-class couple who strive to win a fortune on a TV quiz show, thenspend their fortune in a rather peculiar fashion.Although Once HandClapping was written in the early 1960s it's satiric message still ringstrue.I loved it.

However this novel is not for everyone.Firstly, thebook has a very British feel about it.Much of the wording is not used inAmerica, and is even distinctly old-fashioned here in England.Butotherwise One Hand Clapping is an excellent introduction to the brilliantworld of Anthony Burgess. ... Read more

8. The Wanting Seed (Norton Paperback Fiction)
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 288 Pages (1996-12-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$7.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393315088
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Set in the near future, The Wanting Seed is a Malthusian comedy about the strange world overpopulation will produce.Tristram Foxe and his wife, Beatrice-Joanna, live in their skyscraper world where official familylimitation glorifies homosexuality. Eventually,their world is transformed into a chaos ofcannibalistic dining-clubs, fantastic fertilityrituals, and wars without anger. It is a novelboth extravagantly funny and grimly serious. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Edible England
I still remember the old movie CLOCKWORK ORANGE. The image of three bowler hatted thugs faces dripping with mascara staring into the camera, extolling the virtues of legalized hallucinogenic milk "Moloko Plus" and "Moloko Systhmec." Soviet England is a dystopia informed by Marxist ideology, yet controlled by government supplied drugs and brain surgery.
WANTING SEED is a dystopia based on utilitarianism rather than ideology...Malthus rather than Marx.The state is a type of Planned Parenthood on steroids ruled by a homosexual elite... "its sapiens to be homo"... bent on saving scarce resources from a growing birthrate. The two books are related and yet so diffrent.

This book is an enigma-difficult to characterize or take seriously...it stumbles like the crazed cannibals who eventually turn England into a gruesome buffet and overcome the population planners.The main character, Tristam, finds himself cast to and fro by the disintegration of a planned society that finds itself turning a full circle to what it functionally was, yet, paradoxically,with opposed values.

Is this book a serious look into the future? Did it begin as serious fiction and degenerate into dark comedy? I think so. The book suffers the same fate as the decline of the society described in it.

Infanticide is described in the opening scene...fertilizer for the state agricultural ministry with a glimmering of what is to come..."Freddy, Freddy he is my meat..." The state withers away and is taken over by cannibalistic dining clubs which rule England with an iron fist or iron cleaver...maybe even an iron skillet. Vegetarianism is replaced by a violently carnivorous culture. Procreation is encouraged with mass orgies. The obvious gastronomic end of procreation is reminiscent of Swift's A MODEST PROPOSAL.

Burgess (oddly) describes the new eating habits as a new Eucharist of literal flesh and blood, since wine and bread have nearly vanished (agricultural problems). The Eucharist description is odd for the Catholic Burgess.

Tristan finds himself in the new government army on a pointless campaign in West Ireland. Or is it pointless? Tristan stews in frustration as an army NCO.

As in CLOCKWORK, medicine is the "ghost in the machine" of the grim new order. In CLOCKWORK the infamous Luvosenyko(?) Technique allows the government to control rampaging youths by altering brains...here abortion, the population police and,eventually,roasted population police have their role in the web of life. The prolife Burgess never really liked doctors as much as a spitting and succulent BBQ!

Am I correct when I remember this book as the sister publication of CLOCKWORK- both published in 1962? Burgess, the linguist, used future slang in CLOCKWORK to set the mood well. Soviet England speaks Russian slag and cockney English. In WANTING, the formula breaks down and the narrator greets us with almost unbelievably obscure language which stumped even me!

This book as a movie would work well as dark comedy. Would its ridicule of homosexuals make it a threat in 2010 when it was just dark satire in 1962? Would this book become a cultural icon for the right wing as a movie? Would Hollywood have the intestinal fortitude to produce a movie that some would find hard to digest?

The dystopic message in WANTING is sadly overwhelmed by the dark humor of cretinous dining... still funny though and worth reading. Burgess got bored writing this book. The reader needs to take this book with a grain of salt or better yet a tablespoon of TABASCO sauce. I found WANTING digestible, however, as I pondered its meaning over a rumbling pot of boiling soup punctuated with the regular dropping of sliced frankfurters...boil, boil, toil and trouble...(sorry wrong book).

I could only rate this book with a hearty "Bon(e) appetite" as I ate my frankfurter stew.
A Clockwork Orange

2-0 out of 5 stars to like this book I so wanted, he said peevishly
After reading The Clockowork Orange in a day and laughing like a madman at one of the most likeable and wicked characters in modern literature I wanted to read what seemed to be Burgess's next best work. It fell short of my expectations.

The story meanders aimlessly at times. Stuff happens to the characters and they do things in response and I could not see where he was going with it all. The dialogs were long and turgid and did not seem to always have a point. The world built was curious, but I just did not feel that creepy feeling I felt when I read 1984 or that revulsion with modernity when reading 'Brave New World'. The Pelagian-Interphase-Augustian cycle was a good touch, but it seemed like a backdrop to the whole story and did not developer as well as it could have. It ends in a limbo as the two plot lines are left dangling.

If it was meant to read as a comedy, then, I guess, it just did not work for me. As to a dystopian novel, "The Wanting Seed" does not hold a candle to the greats. Other reviewers suggested that Burgess tried to take a fresh look of the genre. He certainly did, but still, the effort falls flat.

2-0 out of 5 stars "Dystopia" is not enough
The overwhelmingly positive ratings for this book mystify me.They give the sense that, as long as you can use the word "dystopia" in your review, the book must be good.

I respectfully dissent.There's not a single character you care about.The alternate reality never seemed realistic or to have an internal logic.Burgess is a good writer, and shows a few nice flashes in his use of language, but even these are few and far between.There's very little here that shines any light on the issues of today.Disappointing.

5-0 out of 5 stars Sheer Genious
Anthony Burgess's The Wanting Seed is a prophetic masterpiece that rivals Huxley's Brave New World and Ape and Essence.The language is a bit lower, making the experience all the more understandable.

3-0 out of 5 stars Worth reading
It was worth reading if you enjoy books such as "1984".However, this book was very confusing, especially at the beginning.Greater explanation of ideas and events would have been nice.I had no idea what the author was talking about at some points.Do not let the vocabulary in the beginning discourage you.The events towards the end were well thought-out and very original.It was a great ending! ... Read more

9. A Clockwork Orange
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 240 Pages (1986-11)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$5.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393312836
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Anthony Burgess's modern classic of youthful violence and social redemption, reissued to include the controversial last chapter not previously published in this country, with a new introduction by the author. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (668)

5-0 out of 5 stars A great read
First things first: I have not read this yet, but I know it is an amazing book, as I used to own a copy of it, but I lent it to a friend who lost it...wow.

I also wanna point out that this is tied for my favorite movie, so anyone who has seen the movie will love reading this. And for those of you who haven't seen the movie but have an idea of what it's about. Be prepared to be lost on your first read-through, or at least for the first quarter to half of the book. As learning the nadsat language is quite the challenge...albeit a fun one. Once you learn it, it's such a breeze to read through this or watch the movie and not have to stop and think about what exactly one of the characters said, or what it means.

Now, if you have no idea what this book/movie is about...go into it with an open mind. Yes it's very adult oriented and lots of graphic rape/torture going on. But that doesn't mean it should be looked down on. It's a brilliant story about something that no one has even touched on before. The story will just keep you going and going and you will soon find yourself at the end, wishing it wasn't over...as I found the book a little short compared to the 2hr. 30min. version that Kubrick has directed.

Overall, a very great book, brilliant and intriguing.

4-0 out of 5 stars weird
this is a crazy awesome book.... I had to read a couple of things a few times since it's oddly written, but all in all, a great read! thanks

5-0 out of 5 stars A Jolly Horrowshow Read
I took this vesche out from our Public Biblio, and oh my brothers, was I not disappointed.In this we learn of the like sad and weepy jeezney of young Alex: in the beginning of the story, we viddy the life of all happiness and joy which he has with his droogs.All the vesches he commits with his worthy droogs are like govoreeted in the first person, so you get the full effect of being one of the gang and stealing and tolchoking and slurping white moloko and slooshying lovely Ludwig van.But alas, poor Alex is betrayed by his droogs, and gets caught all on his oddy-knocky for a crime they commited.He gets sent to a prison where it's all like boo-hoo boo-hoo and no more listening to Ludwig van, oh my brothers.Then our poor narrator gets out, only to be treated to the terrible Ludovico vesche.They give him the hypo and force him to viddy films, terrible vonny bits of ultraviolence.And he gets sick from the needle but he like associates it with the gratchny films they're forcing on his young innocent weepy glazzies.Our poor droogie Alex is set free, but violate can he not, for he has been conditioned--now he feels the needles when he viddies anything like in the films.Depending on which version of this story you get, our droog will either be doomed or saved in the end...

1-0 out of 5 stars a clockwork orange
I don't know if it is any good because I never received it!Still waiting.

3-0 out of 5 stars A Clockwork Orange
Apparently I live under a rock. When I told a few people that I was reading A Clockwork Orangeby Anthony Burgess they screetched "You've never SEEN the movie?!? Um no, nor did I have any idea what it was about. I am now of the opinion that if the movie follows the book at all, neither would be for the faint of heart.

Alex, a 15 year old thug, is our narrator for this novel. Alex and his friends or "droogs" like to pick fights, assault people (physically and sexually), and generally terrorize at will. In the first 30 pages of the book we are treated to the savage beating of an old man coming out of a library and the assault of a woman while her husband helplessly watches after Alex and his friends invade thier home.

Finally Alex is caught when he is betrayed by his group of friends after another home invasion gone awry. The delinquent is given a 14 year sentence and dragged off to state jail where he is beaten just about every day and forced to share a jail cell with all kinds of savory characters. The cops appear to be just as criminal as the prisoners. After he delivers the death blow to another inmate during an assault the head of the prison decides to make Alex the guinea pig for a program called the Ludovico Technique.

At first Alex thinks this is a step up from jail but he is soon to learn otherwise. The Ludovico Technique is one of conditioning. Through the viewing of several hours of violent images a day combined with medicine which makes the body ill each time the body reacts to a violent image, Alex learns to control his behavior to avoid these pains. He is deemed cured and released from prison.

He goes home only to find that his parents have moved a boarder into his room so he strikes out on his own. He winds up at the home of one of his previous victims who has read about Alex and his miraculous reformation in the paper. At first the victim doesn't recognize him. The man and his friends resolve to use Alex as a poster boy for their anti-government revolution. They do this by driving Alex to attempt suicide and blaming the government for making him unable to function due to his reformation. As Alex recovers from his injuries he also experiences a reverse in his conditioning which allows him to revert to his former violent self.

To make this book more interesting Burgess creates an entire new slang or language that is spoken by all the teenagers in the book called "nadsat". Alex's confession is partially written in this language. What does this mean for the reader? There is a 3 page glossary in the back that you will be flipping to every other sentence just to figure out what is being said. I caught on to the "language" and had to do a lot less flipping about 1/2 way through but it was still annoying. I think even though it upped the interest factor, it also detracted from the question the book was asking "Is being good more important than free will?" Also some of the english language was written in such a way where I thought it was one of the slang words and I found myself flipping to the glossary, not finding anything, and having to derive what was being said from context alone.

What I found interesting also was that even though Alex is absolutely heinous in his thoughts and actions, I did feel a wee bit of sympathy for him once he went through the conditioning and lost his free will. He was abandoned by his parents, friends, treated as if he had never changed and was unable to defend himself from any type violence.

It is certainly a difference premise although kind of Orwellian in the futuristic society gone wrong sense. However, I personally do not like to work that hard to read a book. Having to refer to the glossary constantly was really annoying. Of course the only solution to this would be to write the entire book in plain english which would make the book half as interesting. I would recommend it for someone who wants a short read that is something different but not for someone who hated Orwell's 1984 or someone who cannot stomach graphic violence. ... Read more

10. Man of Nazareth
by Anthony Burgess
 Paperback: Pages (1982-03)
list price: US$3.95
Isbn: 0553133187
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, funny and moving book
First the disclaimer- I am NOT a believer.I am not an agnostic.I am a flat out atheist.Now that is out of the way.This is an incredible book and should be read by anyone who wants or needs to understand the positive side of Christianity and religion itself.Burgess takes this tale oft told and gives it, not a new spin, but a refreshing perspective.He keeps the tone light and the story going- he doesn't linger on any one aspect one can travel from Nazareth to Jerusalem to Rome all on one page- not a word wasted.The central thesis is pretty clearly laid out on the last few pages and I won't ruin it here but I will say that the light tone supports this thesis.Really this is just a beautiful book- find a copy and enjoy whether you are a believer or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars The utterly REAL "Passion of the Christ"
This book came out 20 years before Melvin Gibson's cinematic spectacle, this in-depth literary examination of the life and death of Jesus -- and, as is the case with all book-vs-film portrayals, the book wins.For you snuff fans, Man of Nazareth is every bit as gory as Melvin's film, going into painful detail about the Roman method of execution in those days.And, its flashbacks are more powerful and thoughtful, for those seeking expansion of the biblical accounts.

Problem is, this is a mere book -- it's not a Melvin Gibson movie.That's why it won't achieve anything near the circulation this new film will enjoy.More's the pity. ... Read more

11. Shakespeare
by Anthony Burgess
Hardcover: 251 Pages (2006)

Asin: B000WS6JMI
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12. Re Joyce
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 272 Pages (2000-06)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$6.74
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393004457
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Arguing that "the appearance of difficulty is part of Joyce's big joke," Burgess provides a readable, accessible guide. "Burgess has written a study of the most brilliant and humane of twentieth-century humanists"--Philip Toynbee, The Observer. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars Super
Burgess is very smart, and he's probably a better scholar of Joyce than writer himself.This book has great insight into Ulysses which I enjoyed learning after reading Ulysses for myself, but the real treasure is the chapters about Finnegan's Wake, which makes some sense after reading this assessment.You'll at least have some idea as to the purpose and scope and arc of Finnegan, whereas otherwise, really what are you going to do with it?Besides impress people by leaving it in your bathroom or on the coffee table?Easy to read, rarely dry, but always in depth, very intelligent, extremely well-crafted.The first and foremost Joyce book I would recommend- he also dabbles into Portrait and other Joyce works here and there so it covers everything.You can read Joyce without it, and I did, but its great to have too.Also, I would not use this as a companion, I like it as an afterward- read Ulysses then look at this.But I think it would make a good foreward too, if you want more structure to your struggles.This can certainly make Joyce more accessible and an easier read.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, lucid, helpful companion to Ulysses
Having read Joyce's works numerous times, I found Burgess's book provides a good bit of clarity to the tougher parts of Ulysses and an interesting exegesis of Joyce's work in general.Burgess's knowledge of the material is impressive and his enthusiasm for Joyce is infectious. I believe this book would be as helpful to one with little Joyce experience as Harry Blamire's Bloomsday book, but it is more sohisticated than the author lets on.

One of Burgess's main theses is that Joyce meant this book for everyone and that readers shouldn't be scared away by academics and others who would set the book above out heads, high in the ivory tower.Yet, there are definitely parts where he presents Joyce's characters (whom he calls "the humble men of Dublin"), in supercilious language, which risks defeating his point.Why potentially further obscure Ulysses and Finnegans Wake in a book meant to make them more approachable?

That said, the book is well written and lucid for the most part.A fan of Joyce should enjoy it. I cannot gush as unequivocally about the book as some other reviewers have, because I am not sure how successful he has been at his goal of bringing Joyce to a new audience that has never previously read him due to intimidation.I think I am too familiar with Joyce to be able to tell how helpful ReJoyce would be for the first-timer.From what they've written, I think the other reviewers may be too familiar also.

In summary, Joyce IS challenging, but one should not be scared away. I believe ReJoyce is more helpful than harmful in opening Ulysses et al to a broader audience.

5-0 out of 5 stars A student reads a master- teacher
Burgess is a novelist of tremendous linguistic energy and inventiveness, one who searches out many worlds, scholarly and not. His career path seems much more ' foxlike' and scattered than does the hedgehog - like career in Joyce which seems to go increasingly toward the realization of one great system in literature. In this study of the work of Joyce he tells the life- story but concentrates more on introducing the common reader to Joyce's two large tomes, Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake. He writes with skill and sympathy and even the seasoned Joyce reader can learn much from his work. It is a valuable contribution to the vast Joycean scholarship which continues to grow and grow with the years.

3-0 out of 5 stars Burgess is not the best
To my mind, Burgess is one of the least interesting commentators on Joyce. (Don't get me started on what a poor linguist he is--"Mouthful of Air," for example, is terrible.) He rarely gets beyond the obvious, at least not without getting it wrong. Rather than spending time reading Burgess, I would recommend that those interested in understanding Joyce turn instead to Richard Ellmann, Hugh Kenner, and Stuart Gilbert--all of whom are superior critics.

4-0 out of 5 stars One Great Mind Parses Another
If you are looking for a fairly short, easy to digest introductory guideto Ulysses and Finnegan's Wake, this is it.Anthony Burgess, in additionto being a witty novelist and critic, also had the chutzpah to publish anabridged version of Finnegan's Wake, so you know he knows his stuff!Thisis not a page by page explication of Joyce's complex works, ala Gifford orGilbert, but more like a defense for the intelligent reader who may bewondering if these novels are worth the time.

It is wonderful that thecover of this June 2000 paperback reissue has features an image of Joycelooking away, his facehidden from the reader.Joyce remains an enigma--a sparkling inspiration to readers who enjoy thinking about the questionsand don't care about definitive answers.

If you've read A ClockworkOrange or Nothing Like the Sun and are curious about Anthony Burgess'critical work, this is one of his best performances. ... Read more

13. Nothing Like the Sun (Norton Paperback Fiction)
by Anthony Burgess
 Paperback: 240 Pages (1996-12-17)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$5.02
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 039331507X
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Before Shakespeare in Love, there was AnthonyBurgess's Nothing Like the Sun: a magnificent,bawdy telling of Shakespeare's love life. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars Self-Indulgent
This is nothing but self-indulgent tripe.Undoubtedly, Burgess is knowledgeable about Shakespeare but he is not respectful.Throughout the sloppy novel, he maligns the author without any historical basis.Without knowing anything about Burgess, I was inclined to believe that the novel might be largely autobiographical.
If this is what you get from Burgess, I want no more.

5-0 out of 5 stars Shakespeare alive
Riveting, paced brilliantly any intelligent. Made Shakespeare come alive in my imagination.Use of words and knowledge of the period unsurpassed. Burgess at one of his best.

5-0 out of 5 stars Like Nothing Else You've Read
I'm sure Anthony Burgess's Nothing Like the Sun is like nothing I've ever read before.The novel is subtitled A Story of Shakespeare's Love-life; Burgess's essential claim is that Shakespeare's literary genius was borne out of his lust.It's an interesting thesis, as desire can be quite a motivator, and Burgess manages to convince.

The novel is rich with period detail and dialogue; indeed, it might take some time for the casual reader to become accustomed to Burgess's use of Early Modern English.For readers familiar with Shakespeare's sonnets and plays, the novel is a delight of allusions.I found myself wishing I were much more familiar with Shakespeare even than I am, having taught several of his plays (and some of them many times) because I feel sure that some allusions passed me by.

Burgess crafted a plausible, entertaining narrative from the few scraps of information we have about Shakespeare's life and in the process, held a lens up to Shakespeare's work and times, exposing both work and times as sublime and filthy at the same time.I would recommend this book highly to anyone interesting in learning more about Shakespeare or about Elizabethan England.

5-0 out of 5 stars Nothing Like The Sun
Anthony Burgess's "Nothing Like The Sun" is a linguistic marvel.It is a philosophically oppressive look at William Shakespeare's foray into literature and the world.Starting in the small 'borough' of Stratford, WS (as he is called) is an apprentice leather craftsman.He spends his days and nights dreaming of plays, gentility, and idealistic love.

Most of the novel shows WS trying to figure out what kind of love he is after.His notions of love come from Plato's "Symposium" - will it be common, physical lust, or contemplation of absolute beauty leading to his best poetic and dramatic works?The relationships that the novel explores these questions with are with the youthful noble Henry Wriothesly and the exotic, colonial Fatima.

Burgess delights in wordplay throughout the novel, using for the most part, the language of Shakespeare's plays and sonnets in the narration and dialogue.Unlike "Shakespeare in Love" Burgess's novel does not build around any specific text, instead making his works almost marginal to the drama of Shakespeare's fictional biography.Burgess presents Shakespeare's works as the results and expressions of a desperate life.

Burgess augments Shakespeare's story with an almost post-colonial historical setting.With Fatima allegedly from the Indies, and a backdrop of English oppression of the Irish, "Nothing Like The Sun" complicates Shakespeare's historical moment.Class struggles, plagues, and political sterility also mark the temporal setting as the novel moves from the country (Stratford) to the coast (Bristol) to the capital (London).

Reading "Nothing Like The Sun" was a welcome experience for me, having only ever read Burgess's "A Clockwork Orange" before.The writing style takes a little getting used to, but that is the price you pay for art.I highly recommend it.

4-0 out of 5 stars A dark alternative to "Shakespeare in Love"
Lacks the tragic inevitability of "Dead Man in Deptford", but still a good read. Brilliant language, Elizabethan England nicely evoked, well-drawn characters, clever speculation to fill in the gaps in what weknow of Shakespeare's life. A bit crazy, especially at first, but that'swhat you pay for with Burgess, right? ... Read more

14. Earthly Powers
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 656 Pages (2004-05-06)
list price: US$18.60 -- used & new: US$12.04
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Asin: 0099468646
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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'Crowded, crammed, bursting with manic erudition, garlicky puns, omnilingual jokes...which meshes the real and personalised history of the twentieth century' - Martin Amis. Kenneth Toomey is an eminent novelist of dubious talent; Don Carlo Campanati is a man of God, a shrewd manipulator who rises through the Vatican to become the architect of church revolution and a candidate for sainthood. These two men are linked not only by family ties but by a common understanding of mankind's frailties. In this epic masterpiece, Anthony Burgess plumbs the depths of the essence of power and the lengths men will go for it. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (31)

5-0 out of 5 stars Una vida interesante
Kenneth M. Toomey en su octogésimo primer cumpleaños recibe el encargo de testimoniar sobre los milagros del Papa Gregorio XVII y escribir un libro sobre el, más conocido por el escritor simplemente por Carlo y a partir de ahí, el anciano Toomey hace una retrospectiva de su vida, obra, filosofía, religiosidad y moral a través de períodos interesantes de su vida y momentos puntuales históricos: Primera Guerra Mundial, su exilio intelectual en Paris, el comienzo del facismo en Italia y el nacismo en Alemania, su incursión en Hollywood como guionista, la Segunda Guerra Mundial y la turbulenta inestabilidad social de la postguerra.
Paralela a las descripciones historicas y citas literarias que abundan en la novela, nos narra su intenso conflicto de amor-odio con la iglesia y la sociedad por su orientación homosexual, "desviación" esta criticada, vilipendiada, mal interpretada y poco aceptada durante la mayor parte de su vida, obligandolo a esconderla, reprimirla y muchas veces enfrentarse a la hostilidad de amigos, parientes y conocidos.Un libro muy profundo e interesante.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great, but tough read.....
Intersting and well done, but lots of foreign phrases and obscure words. Still trying to figure out the "message". Although the protagonist is gay he seems homophobic, and since Burgess was married and seemingly straight, very well done. Kind of like Gore Vidal in the sense of being gay, but not really living that way.

4-0 out of 5 stars great story, but have multiple dictionaries handy
'Earthly Powers' is quite a read, both good and bad.It's overall story, the memoirs of a gay British novelist, is quite interesting.His journeys around four continents, living through two world wars, and experiencing the most curious adventures with bizarre characters are never boring.But the author puts too much into it.I don't see the need for having a great many passages written in foreign languages (German, French, Italian, Latin, Malay, others), especially when unaccompanied by translations.Although I have greatly enjoyed other works by Anthony Burgess, 'Earthly Powers' comes off as rather pretentious and overly cerebral.He should have been more considerate of the reader.

Bottom line: I would recommend the similar 'Any Human Heart' by William Boyd.Like 'Earthly Powers', it delivers a great story but it doesn't let the reader drown in uber-intellectual verbage.

5-0 out of 5 stars Confabulations
This book, like much of Burgesss's output, is sui-generis.Yes, our narrator, Toomey, by Burgess's own admission, is based on Somerset Maugham, but he is also based on Burgess himself----For those who missed the Burgessian word play here:"Two of me".The word play is one of the things I delighted in about this book, so is the arcane vocabulary.For readers who detest fun with abstruse linguistics this is Not the book for you----For all others, you'll love coming across, time and again, words like (off the top of my head) "cecity".

But, as almost all reviewers have noted, this book is also a kind of roman a clef of historic personages, literary and otherwise, populating the Twentieth Century - literary and otherwise - from Henry James to Jim Jones. This effect does, as another reviewer has noted, become tedious after a bit, as does the theological casuistry strewn throughout the book, another one ofBurgess's - as he calls himself, a "lapsed Catholic" - obsessions.He once told critic Harold Bloom, "I'll see you in Limbo, Bloom!" - But I digress.At their worst, these parts come across as preachy. - Burgess gave a 1985 interview with Donald Swain (to which you can listen online at Wired for Books) in which he repeats verbatim several points Toomey makes in his Wodehousian broadcast for the Nazis herein.It's just a tad off-putting.But Joyce, Burgess's greatest literary influence, can be off-putting and Jesuitical at times too.

So, I'm ready to forgive Burgess/Toomey this theological muddle in light of the splendid, erudite dialogues and cutting wit that permeate the book from first page to last.This book truly is a swan song for literacy and art.As Toomey/Burgess says in the early going:

"I believed that writers were fine people and the legislators of the world and so on, but I was already desperately out of date.The future belonged to the universal eye, to be tricked and overfed with crude images; it did not belong to the imagination."

And, well, look around you.

Toomey has as the tentative title for this narrative (revealed in the last few pages of the book) Confabulations, a title I like much better than Earthly Powers.Perhaps it's what Burgess wanted to call it himself.But I don't know this as a fact.So, I'll simply appropriate it for my review title-----and trust that it incurs no unintended consequences.

4-0 out of 5 stars Great Read
The only knowledge I'd had of Burgess was through his novel "A Clockwork Orange," which I loved, so when I saw "Earthly Powers" at the bookstore over twenty years ago, I bought it, hoping that it would have the same flavor. Wrong! I couldn't get into it at that time, a story of an aged homosexual and his relationship with a priest who becomes the pope, it seemed boring to me so I set it aside until 2007. I'm glad I did, because now I feel mature enough to absorb and understand a lot of what Mr. Burgess had to say in this novel and thoroughly enjoyed it.

This is an epic of a novel, chronicling the dual lives of the protagonist, the writer Kenneth Toomey, and his brother-in-law's brother, Carlo Campanati, an Italian priest who eventually becomes pope. The book spans several decades and touches on deep philosophical issues of religion, homosexuality, fascism, and more. I thought the characters were richly drawn, and the way Burgess weaves the character's family together over the decades is masterful. I love the way Burgess uses a repetition of symbols or themes throughout the book: greedy eating, being victimized, the loutishness of youth, etc. It created an extra element of depth that kept me enthralled throughout the whole novel. It's very readable and Burgess's portrayal of homosexuality seemed very accurate to me.

I was a little bit put off by a lot of the philosophizing over religion, but I think it all tied together at the remarkable ending. To me, this book was about non-belief and how living without a "belief system" can be me more moral and loving than tying oneself to a dogmatic faith that can ultimately lead to corruption. ... Read more

15. The Kingdom of the Wicked (Signed, First Edition, Leather Bound)
by Anthony Burgess
Leather Bound: 379 Pages (1985)

Asin: B000ZUBPQ8
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Literary genius with an historical background
I'm going to preface my review by stating that I'm a history buff so I already had an interest and understanding of the book's content.

Kingdom of the Wicked is a fictional retelling of the the lives of the Apostles during the "Acts" period after Jesus' death in one story arc and the the inner workings of the Roman Imperial political machine from late in Cesar Tiberius reign to the middle of Cesar Vespasian's in another story arc. The two "times" intermingle often as the world of Jerusalem and Rome are destined to collide over and over again.
The fictional narrator Sadoc tells the story switching between first person when talking about his writing of the story to the reader, and then switches to third person omniscient during the actual story. There are a few places where this gets confusing, but for the most part is easy to follow.
Some reviewers have mentioned that the book is hard to follow because of the constant influx of new characters, a lot of which seem to have the same name. My understanding of the time period that the story takes place in made it easy for me, but I could see how it might be difficult for some.
The writing is very English and of a slightly older style, so the prose is a little more dense than what's on book shelves today. Again, some may appreciate Anthony Burgess' ability as a wordsmith and other may simply find him wordy. There is also a lot of typical British dry humor, sarcasm, and toilet humor that reminds me of modern English authors like Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett.

1.) Wonderful writing with rich characters and scenery.
2.) Anthony Burgess demonstrates the ability to deftly use a number of literary tools with precision and effect. His writing never comes off as a book of "look what I can do" as an author.
3.) Being a student of religious history and enjoying books set in historical settings, I thought this had a brilliant background.

1.) Some Christians may find the book and it's characters offensive. Burgess made his characters very human with very human failings.
2.) People without an interest in history may find this book confusing or boring.
3.) Like "A Clockwork Orange" the ending is morally ambiguous and somewhat open ended. Some readers might find this annoying.

Bottom Line:
This is an awesome book by an awesome writer if you have the mind for it. Some might not find this book to be their cup of tea, and others will probably find it crude or offensive. I honestly don't think the author cares much about the opinions either of those two audiences.

4-0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric historical fiction
This is Burgess's version of the early story of Christianity, beginning at the crucifixion and ending with what appears to be the inevitable downfall of the Christian sect. He bases his work on Acts, Josephus etc, but the best part was obviously the fact that he injects the unapologetic, frequently-shocking, always-honest Burgess style. As such, expect a lot of explicit sex, violence and other things that made those times what they were.

The account is more cynically-historical than reverentially-religious, or at least that's how it appeared to me, however if you are a Christian I don't think this book is *bound* to alienate you, though it may. Burgess also parallels the development of the story of Peter, Paul et al with that of the comtemporary Roman emperors and their lives. This is where it becomes unstuck at some point as there is sometimes no connexion. Besides this flaw, I found it to be a very enjoyable read - an intelligent and ironic take on the past.

4-0 out of 5 stars Good, but rather tiresome
I have read five books by Burgess, and I must say that this is not his best, that is not to say that it is a bad book though.In fact, I liked it (as my rating shows).It showed his thorough knowledge of ancient Rome, and Jerueselem.The characters were well portrayed, and both people with, and without great knoweldge of the time will find the book quite enjoyable to read, for its descriptions.
I have two complaints, however, the list of characters grows and grows, until I find myself thoroughly confused.Also, the storyline seems to flow together less and less towards the end, and it seems as if Burgess wanted to finish up the novel, so he just wrote down everything that was supposed to happen, without peicing it together with any sort of transitions.
The book still has its charms, the characters are all very interesting, and the descriptions of the ancient empire are very well written.
In the end, I would say that if you have a strong interest in ancient Rome, you should read this, as it tells history while making it enjoyable.I would not, however, recommend that this be the first book by Burgess that you read, as it is longer, and differently written than almost all his other ones.

3-0 out of 5 stars Good writing but doesn't hold together
This is a really hard book to rate.On the one hand, the actual execution -- writing, style, structure and so forth -- is great. The voice, that of a retired Roman clerk, is consistent throughout and the take on the Roman Empire and early Christianity isbelievable and interesting.

On the other hand, the story really fell short for me.As it went on, it became less of a coherent story and more of a list of (mostly dire and unpleasant) events.While at the beginning it seemed that the characters had some relationship to one another and that the story had a point, by the end it all seemed random and arbitrary.I enjoyed the narrator as a character, but I kept expecting his story to tie in with the main story. It never did, and I was left wondering why it was he felt so compelled to tell the story in the first place.As well, the ending fell flat.I was looking for at least one or two of the characters to undergo some change or experience some kind of redemption.Maybe I missed something, but it didn't seem like that happened.As a result, I was left feeling cheated.

4-0 out of 5 stars The Kingdom of the Wicked
Anthony Burgess' profound learning is on display in a fascinating piece of historical fiction, The Kingdom of the Wicked.Picking up just days after the crucifixion of Jesus, we find the founding fathers of Christianityrendered realistically in an often hilarious book.From the stoning ofStephen, the first Christian martyr, to the imperial court of the madCaligula, Burgess' novel takes the reader on a whirlwind tour of theMediterranean during the first century.Though a well-crafted storyfilled with luminosities of language, it is the historical perspective thatis perhaps most rewarding to the reader.Anyone who has spent time readingthe Bible or has heard the stories of early Christendom will undoubtedly,unless a scholarly type, have difficulty referencing them in a real way. The various letters of the apostles provide only subservient snippets ofthe time while Burgess' novel takes us into the very rooms of the apostlesas they write and commences on into their minds while monitoring everythingfrom their lustful proclivities to their bowel movements.The learningcombined with the lurid language at hand make The Kingdom of the Wicked amarvel.However, the leapfrogging from one story to another leaves thefinal storyline disjointed and the reader sometimes perplexed.Also, thelearning has a darker side for, whereas details are lavishly furnishedthroughout, sordid specifics of Caligula's court are enough to make mostreaders turn quickly to the next page.It's enough to make one claim thatsome history deserves to be buried, but this is Burgess' bold statement tothe contrary. ... Read more

16. Tremor of Intent: A Novel
by Anthony Burgess
Paperback: 256 Pages (2004-07)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$6.36
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0393004163
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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From the author of A Clockwork Orange, a brilliantly funny spy novel. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars a short yet modestly diverting (and fun) espionage novel
'Tremor of Intent' is really a very minor effort by Anthony Burgess, an author who has otherwise fully earned his stellar reputation.It is a spy story that mostly takes place on a cruise ship in the Adriatic during the 1960s.The book seems mainly as vehicle for the author to show off his considerable wit and knowledge of languages.The plot?Not very important, plausible or even fully understandable.But no bother.The book is full of clever dialog and memorable characters.

Bottom line: a weak effort by Anthony Burgess would be considered a tremendous achievement by most anyone else.Yet, I think this book is best for Anthony Burgess fans only.

5-0 out of 5 stars Intellectual beach read
So glad to see this romp back in print. Sheer escapism, best read when you're young enough to take the macho fantasizing straight; blissful, absurd!Feminists (well, women) should probably avoid. But hey, it's parody, girls - lighten up! (I fear not...) This is a thriller for those who find thrillers dumb, just as The Sirens of Titan or War with the Newts (two more of my favourites) are scifi for those who grew out of scifi. Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars a damn decent read...
i hate giving huge descriptions about books and how the characters are and the problems of the book. to put it simply if you like anthony burgess and you like spy stories with a great ending then pick this book up. the history and development of the main characters was probably one of the most interesting aspects of the book. the two main characters are spies and one of them has left the side of "good" to be with the "bad". the one that remains on the good side is basically threatened by the "good" side in order to bring the other spy back. both characters go through some interesting development and get into some real trouble like a 250 lb child molester who doesnt just have his eyes on the children. the ending is definitely something unexpected but for those who read anthony burgess, they already know this. burgess has an incredible of keeping your interest the whole time. spies on adventures and their sexual prowess, as well as, their naievity and insanity that comes with job. overall an intersting read for any fan of burgess. you will definitely root for the good guys the whole way. anthony burgess hands down, was and continues to be one of the best writers in modern lit ... Read more

17. M/F
by Anthony Burgess
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1971-01-01)

Asin: B003L1U62C
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18. 1985
by Anthony Burgess
Hardcover: 272 Pages (1978-10)
list price: US$14.95 -- used & new: US$49.99
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0316116513
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Ingenious, chilling and darkly comic, 1985 combines a devastating critique of George Orwell's 1984 with a terrifying vision of the future. As memorable and shocking as A Clockwork Orange, it is also as powerful and unsettling as anything Burgess has written. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

4-0 out of 5 stars A View of the Cacotopian Future
It is always interesting to see one good author's take on another.In this case Anthony Burgess, author of A Clockwork Orange and The Wanting Seed, evaluates and criticizes George Orwell's 1985.After extensive interviews and essays on the nature of Orwell's seminal work, Burgess pens his own short novella, entitled 1985 (to avoid plagiarism, so he says.)Burgess's view of the cacotopian future is much closer to his own vantage point in strike plagued late 70's Britain, than was Orwell's in the immediate post WWII era.Orwell had originally envisioned calling his novel Nineteen Forty Eight such was the perceived similarity between his own environment and that of Winston Smith's, but the publisher persuaded him to set it in the future.Burgess, living through that era as well remembers clearly the chronic shortages of razor blades and soap, the pervasive smell of boiled cabbage, the ubiquitous rubble and the slogans emblazoned on walls and billboards.Burgess even suggests that 1984, rather than a dark forecast of a dystopian future is actually asatirical stab at socialist England in 1948.In his essays, Burgess addresses questions such as these: As a devoted lifelong Socialist, what made Orwell cast INGSOC in such horrific terms?Why does an author and novelist distrust words so much that he would create Newspeak?How does the rise of the Labour Party and the British trade unions foreshadow the real loss of personal freedom that underscored the horror of the totalitarian Big Brother?What is it about revolutions that are inherently progressive?If you loved 1984, read this and find out one man's answers to these and many other questions.

5-0 out of 5 stars Under-rated and under-understood
An outstanding work that is clearly (read the other reviews, all bar Mr Pen-some's are naive responses) not understood or appreciated. I spent some time trying to track down a copy of this text and it was well worth it. People who have not read it should gush less when offering their critiques of 1984. To define the text would be to insult it but those who have read other Burgess works will recognise his fascination with and utilisation of multiple styles and approaches, the better to deal with the subjects in hand. Another masterpiece from Wilson - and no surprises there!

4-0 out of 5 stars Now it's an AH novel
The thing that strikes me about this book is that it now reads as alternate history.Say Margaret Thatcher never goes into politics, and the Labour ascendency of the '70s is not cut short.Given the grimy, hopeless bitterness of many ostensibly socialist societies, the excesses depicted in this novel become more realistic. The resolution of these excesses (to the extent that they are resolved at all) is, alas, less convincing.

Minor spoiler -
the idea that the elected government would fall under the general mess could be found in almost any book.The idea that
the King (Charles Tertius) would emerge as the _de jure_ head of state to get things moving again was pure brilliance.

4-0 out of 5 stars it beats 1984 in my eyes
i never got to read the criqtues on 1984 that burgess put in this(well thats a lie i skimmed them but no in depth thought) but i did read "1985"and thought of it as more practical than 1984 i would enjoy it if burgess would have expanded on it much more than he did it seemend more policitcal and rational than 1984. though 1984 was a fantastic novel at that and i highly respect orwell's works. 1985 had more of a dark humor too with my favorite line from burgess's novels "you have to get off!" "why?" "because were going on strike"

1-0 out of 5 stars Weak for Burgess
The novel itself is pretty weak, especially for Burgess.He seems scared by the gulf oil money that was flowing into England in the 1970s, perhaps even a bit resentful.However, preceding the novel is an extended essay on imaginary fiction that includes Burgess' take on Orwell.This essay is worth reading.It is as insightful as the novel is disappointing. ... Read more

19. The Doctor is Sick
by Anthony. Burgess
 Paperback: Pages (1997)

Asin: B003XZVNXM
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (7)

3-0 out of 5 stars London after Midnight...
Poor Edwin Spindrift, a proper Doctor of Philosophy and a lecturer on Linguistics passes out during one of his classes in Burma and is sent to London only to be diagnosed with a brain tumor. On the eve of his operation Spindrift awakens suddenly with an urge to escape the hospital. He starts off searching for his wife, so he could get some money from her, but he ends up unsure of what exactly he is searching for.
This is my first Anthony Burgess novel, and I was not disappointed. Burgess' description of the dark side of London is so detailed you can practically feel the grime. His characters are colorful caricatures, giving the book substance, especially the masochist kettle-mobster who swears that Spindrift is "kinky".
The linguistic aspect of the book is a little over the top; whenever Spindrift goes on about a word, the root of the word, it is a bit dull. His lecture on cockney, however was informative and amusing. There are several laugh out loud moments. R. Dickie, Spindrift's hospital roommate is so affable it's a shame he's only in the first few chapters. The most amusing part of the book, however, is when Spindrift is jailed in a flat, and in the middle of trying to escape suddenly becomes distracted by a dirty magazine.
I gave this book a three stars, but I think it's more a 3 ½. Edwin is a charming hopeless character who you can't help but cheer for. And at 260 pages the book is also quick read. It certainly won't disappoint.

5-0 out of 5 stars Humanity is Sick
Anthony Burgess (the late), author of many books including, "A Clockwork Orange," brings another masterful piece of literature to the English language.

"The Doctor is Sick," showcases Burgess tallents as a linguistic master with a control of and look at the English language in its many forms.Burgess' use of the English language as a plot moving device is at the same level of pure genius that it reached in his most famous novel, "A Clockwork Orange."

At the same time, this is a sentimental tale that looks at the modern world and its tendancy to dehumanize and objectify people.Funny, and comedic in an off kilter satirical way, this novel tries to bring the humanity back to the protagonist, the sick professor, Edwin Spindrift.

The story shows the same cyincal look towards the hospital, and specifically mental health issues, that were later seen in the second of Burgess' "Enderby" tales.

This is truely the story of the humanization of Dr. Spindrift and his joining the "real" world for the first time in his life.A wonderfuly written, bittingly satrical and greatly humorous book, this is a must read for anyone who enjoyed "Clockwork," the widely read "Complete Enderby," or any of Burgess' other works of fiction.

There is an insider look at the medical world, Burgess, who himself was diagnossed with a brain tumor, brings his own knowledge of the condition and adds to it the satire on British institutions that was a common theme in his fiction.

Anthony Burgess shows us that humanity is sick as much as the good doctor, and that it might be out tendancy to lose the human in the machines of every day life, that is the real problem.

5-0 out of 5 stars Mindblowing
I bought this book after being mesmerized by "A Clockwork Orange"

While nothing like ACO (except for Burgess's masterful use of language), this book was every bit as riveting.

Dr. Edwin Spindrift, a linguistics professor in Burma, is diagnosed with a brain tumor. He, accompanied by his oddball wife, goes to London for medical treatment.

In the hospital, the mellow Spindrift meets a whole assortment of people: unique patients, arrogant insensitive physicians, cold uncaring nurses, rude orderlies, distant medical technicians, and the people who love them. Confused, bored, and exasperated with painful medical tests, Spindrift "escapes" the brain ward to disappear into nighttime London.

Misty and cold "civilized" London is very alien to the doctor, who has grown accustomed to sunny tropical Burma. Fascinated and horrified at the same time, Spindrift wanders the dark recesses of a Modern Western City in search of... something. Or maybe he's just running.

Spindrift runs into some very strange and utterly believable people. He finds himself in unusual, bizarre situations, every one of them genuine and real. More at home with language and words than with people, Spindrift is nevertheless spellbound by the alien Londoners with their colorful speech and habits.

After numerous adventures (or misadventures), he finds himself back in the stark, bright, antiseptic hospital. The hospital being so very alien in its own way, Edwin Spindrift PhD wonders just how many of those bizarre memories were real... in retrospect, things seem so amazing.

The story is a bit dated yet enough has remained the same (proof that some things may never change) that Spindrift's wild trip is still understandable and imaginable. It's a story of perceptions, or false perceptions. TDIS was one of those rare books that I had to set down sometimes to THINK about what I had just read. I hadn't done that with a book in a long time. I enjoyed not only reading this book, but thinking about it, too.

A very sly tale. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Mind's Eye: The Doctor is Sick
I just finished the book about twenty minutes ago and was transfixed (read: bothered, intrigued, exhillarated) by it.I am a long-standing fan of his, and in many ways, I think this may be his most accessible, but certainly not facile, book that I have read.

Having come to Burgess by virtue of End of the World News, Enderby, and Nothing like the Sun, and to a lesser extent (I was too young... must re-read), A Clockwork Orange, I am always struck with the profound, yet playful, way Burgess handles reality.

In The Doctor is Sick, he forces us to explore the ontomological nature of the novel, this novel, our own minds, and life itself.The Doctor is Sick begins with a fairly well-grounded, if odd (mental hospital) setting.Soon, the protagonist, Dr. Spindrift, embarks on what seems to be a fanciful, creatively forged, comic journey through his own imagination.Then, as this reader expects, we go back to the original scene.Or do we?

Finally, the book impels us to see the world through the mind's eye of Spindrift, and forces questions about which parts of the book are "real," or imagined.Of course, as a work of literature, it is all imagined, as Burgess slyly suggests with his omniscient, and deeply feeling!, narrator.And while we, or I, may never sort out defitinively what Spindrift, much less, Burgess had in mind, it is in effect Spindrift's brilliant imagination, provided by Burgess, that provokes a totally credible look at one's own fragile perception, at all perception, at the, perhaps false, dichotomy between the real and imagined.We should all give great thanks for the Author's ability to keep in reign the flying, floating nature of the mind' eye and transmit it with brilliant comic,tragic, maybe realistic imagination.

A great author, a great book.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Doctor is Sick: a Masterpiece
Burgess has a way with words unlike any other author. This worderful talent is vividly expressed in A Clockwork Orange, but Mr. Burgess also displays this in The Doctor is Sick. He not only plays on words in a raw sublimity, but he also draws a perfect image for the reader. Truly a masterpiece. ... Read more

20. Mouthful of Air; Language, Languages ...especially English
by Anthony Burgess
 Unknown Binding: Pages (1992-01-01)

Asin: B003L271R4
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (5)

4-0 out of 5 stars Caveat Lector...
Anthony Burgess, as is evident from the get-go, is a high-brow. In this book, a bildungsroman of words, he pulls no punches, and expects you to be able to roll with them. If you can, the dividends are many. If you can't, 'tis a shame, but the sun will still rise tomorrow.

Burgess delves whole-hog into human language, both spoken and written, and forensically examines how people talk, how the speech organs function, how speech has evolved, how and why writing came to be developed, the effect writing had on speech (and vice versa), and proffers structural synopses of various different languages (with a focus on English).

To call this book a linguistic primer would be to short-change it.

Certain passages that utilize the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), with its unique notation and recondite symbols, are a bit eye-glazing. But I, for one, who was never truly conscious about velars, plosives, fricatives, and the like, found Burgess's explication of these concepts and their meaning to be revelatory.

Most people can drive the car, i.e. speak and write. Burgess demonstrates how the car is built. He reveals the hidden linkages, the obscure history, the steps on the ladder that have brought us to where we are today.

For the linguistical layman, this book is as much detail as you'll ever need...and it is written in a style that, while at times unavoidably pedantic, is not meant to challenge the reader unduly to finish it.

4-0 out of 5 stars An Englishman Writes About English
This is the same Anthony Burgess who writes novels. He was a teacher of English before he became a professional writer and thus he brings credentials to this book about language and linguistics.

"Mouthful of Air" is written for British readers and Americans may find some of the discussions of British pronunciation a bit esoteric and mysterious.Being a sloppy-voweled American I didn't really comprehend the subtle differences the author perceives in pronunciation of the words "marry merry Mary," for example.They sound the same to me.Thus, his technical discussions of vowel differences did not resonate in differing vibrations to my inner ear.I would likewise question the author's opinion that the phonetic alphabet should be required learning in school. That would be about as useful as reinstituting Latin as a required course.

Burgess divides his book into two parts.Part one deals with technical aspects of language.For example, he titles one graphic, "Chart of Consonants According to their Organs of Articulation."The consonants are then divided into stop plosives, nasals, laterals, fricatives, glides, and affricates.Whew! I don't think I would want to be in an English class with Burgess as a teacher. Amongst discussion of affricates and fricatives, however, are some interesting chapters on the development of the Indo-European tongues and brief chapters on Malay and Japanese to show how they differ from Indo-European languages.

Part two is about English -- mostly British English, but also American, Australian, and Scottish. He briefly examines dialects, literature, "low life" language, and the influence of the Bible on language.A minority of people will find his technical discussions instructive. The author defines his objective as pedagogic and the reader should expect some hard sledding if he wishes to comprehend every last word in this book. However, I suspect that the majority of us will skip blithely over words like "alveolar" and enjoy the rest of the book -- which is informative and fascinating.


5-0 out of 5 stars A Mouthful of Wonderful
This is the ultimate book for someone like me, an amateur linguist and lover of literature.While Burgess covers some territory with which I am intimately familiar (and makes some minor factual errors), I can't but recommend the book whole-heartedly.

Aimed at British readers (noticeable only in the sections on phonology, or the production of sounds), Burgess gives a crash course on linguistics and language in a tone that is at once entertaining and informative, bookish without being pedantic.He argues persuasively for the teaching of the IPA (International Phonetic Alphabet) in schools and, near the end of the book, even ventures into how the study of the components of langugae can inform the reading of modern poetry and prose.

While it will help for a reader to be familiar with some basics of linguistics (phonology more than syntax, morphology or grammar), it is not required.I couldn't help wishing, as I read the book, that it had been my introduction to the subject.After learning about how speech sounds are produced by the lips, teeth and tongue, and learning about how they are categorized scientifically and recorded in various alphabets, Burgess plunges us into perhaps the greatest linguistic development of the last two centuries, the reconstruction of Proto-Indo-European, the language from which sprang Greek, Latin, Russian, Sanskrit, German, English, Spanish, French, Swedish, Persian and so many others.The miracle of being able to find instant cognates in other languages once you know a few simple rules of sound changes is superbly demonstrated by Burgess here.

Burgess also discusses two non-Indo-European languages, each in its own individual chapter: Malay & Japanese.His knowledge of Malay, formed by his longtime residence in Indonesia, is very deep and he was able to give a great deal of interesting information to a Malay layman like me.His Japanese chapter is from the perspective of an outsider with limited knowledge, and I found it less informative but still interesting.

Finally, Burgess turns his cannons on the canon of English literature, and its medium, the English language.His jaunt through the very tortured history of English is extremely well done.This is the sort of non-fiction writing that manages to put you at the calm center of a whirlwind of historical and literary events.I compare it, not lightly, with the essays of Jorge Luis Borges in its lucidity and magisterial effect.

Like Borges, Burgess writes about the metaphysics of translation and the essentiality of reading poetry in its native tongue.Where the two great writer-scholars differ is on the subject of James Joyce, regarding whom Burgess manages to slip in a very convincing apology.Burgess' explication of a passage from FINNEGAN'S WAKE is no doubt a preview from his book length treatment of the same subject in RE JOYCE.

Fan of Burgess' fictions, especially A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, will find much of interest in this book, which gives up his secrets of language manipulation so lightly and with such goodwill.Burgess, told he had a terminal illness, was motivated to be quite prolific as a writer, and there are arguments to be made for which of his books are worth reading first.Not having read them all, I will not speculate that this is among them.

All I can say is that, for readers like myself who have an abiding interest in language and literature, time reading this book is time well-spent.

4-0 out of 5 stars great intro to the study of language
This book, an expansion of Burgess' earlier _Language Made Plain_, is a fabulous way to learn how language works -- how we make sounds, how words change through the years, how languages differ from each other.Burgess'book on language is in many ways a curious sort of literary autobiography,as so much of his writing has been wordplay of one sort or another.Asalways, his writing is lively and lucid.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Truly Cunning Linguist
Anthony Burgess was, excuse me, I just have to say it, a truly cunning linguist, and wrote many books about the English language, as well as the dialogue for 1 Million B.C. Grunts and snorts, but grunts and snorts researched in chronological retrospect; from his vast knowledge of present-day languages, he traced language backward to its beginning sounds, much like he took modern-day Liverpool slang and projected it into the future for the speech in A Clockwork Orange (his admittedly worst and regrettably best-known book). He read and reviewed dictionaries for the London Times, always finding a lively and humorous way to present his serious content.This same man, as a linguist, produced a lively analysis of language in A Mouthful of Air. For anyone who loves words and language and the way they roll off the tongue, Anthony Burgess is a must ... Read more

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