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Carpe Librum

Bookish conversation with author Samantha Wilcoxson.


You can also find me on my blog.

Historical Novel Society

1984 by George Orwell

Nineteen Eighty-Four - Simon Prebble, George Orwell

Despite a great narrator, this book was painful to listen to. I understand what Orwell is trying to say with this story, but I've never read a book with violence, sex, and political intrigue that managed to be so excruciatingly boring.


I have at times said that great nonfiction is so entertaining that it reads like a novel. Well, this book is the opposite of that. It is a novel that literally includes long segments of made up nonfiction. I think this novel is the reason the concept "show, don't tell" was created. At one point, I thought I must have accidentally rewound the recording because I could have sworn Winston was reading exactly the same section again. Or was this Big Brother cleverly torturing me?


The beginning of this book has our doomed Winston wondering if he is the only sane person in the world. (He is.) That had potential, but then he started an oddly detached love affair with a younger woman. This is where the book started losing me, but I didn't realize how much worse it was going to get.


This is one of those classics that I just cannot fall in love with. I can appreciate it only as early dystopian fiction that has led to other much more brilliant stories.