Clockwork Orange, The Eye In The Door, The Passion

“Then, brothers, it came. Oh, bliss, bliss and heaven. I lay all nagoy to the ceiling, my gulliver on my rookers on the pillow, glazzies closed, rot open in bliss, slooshying the sluice of lovely sounds. Oh, it was gorgeousness and gorgeosity made flesh. The trombones crunched redgold under my bed, and behind my gulliver the trumpets three-wise silverflamed, and there by the door the timps rolling through my guts and out again crunched like candy thunder. Oh, it was wonder of wonders. And then, a bird of like rarest spun heavenmetal, or like silvery wine flowing in a spaceship, gravity all nonsense now, came the violin solo above all the other strings, and those strings were like a cage of silk round my bed. Then flute and oboe bored, like worms of like platinum, into the thick thick toffee gold and silver.”
A Clockwork Orange, Anthony Burgess

One of my all-time favourite passages about music, and certainly one of the most distinctive. The other day some words from it came to mind when I was listening to Sigur Ros, so I thought I’d put the whole passage up here for everyone else to love too.

Elsewhere in reading, I finished Monday’s library books and headed back for more yesterday: Norwegian Wood (Haruki Murakami), The Ghost Road (Pat Barker, the last book in the Regeneration trilogy), Art And Lies (Jeanette Winterson), The Child Garden (Geoff Ryman).

From Monday, The Eye In The Door was a worthy sequel to Regeneration, which says a lot given that I loved Regeneration. It moves away from Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen to focus on Billy Prior, who had initially intrigued me less than the former two because he was completely fictional, as opposed to being a war poet I entered the story already loving. The book’s success, for me, lies in two accomplishments: firstly, making me interested in Prior as an individual beyond morbid fascination with his war experiences, and secondly, the idea of divisions within the self in almost everything the book explores, from homosexuality to class conflicts to Prior’s psychological problems to Dr Rivers’ difficulties in treating Sassoon. Engaging stuff, and Pat Barker’s accessible writing style helps a great deal.

Loved The Passion. Loved the language, loved the imagery, loved the quirky humour, loved it, loved it, loved it. Not exactly a hard-hitting book of ideas, and not particularly insightful even with regard to its major theme (passion, unsurprisingly), but all the way through I felt caressed by words, and often, that’s all I need or want.

One Comment

  1. For any surfers stumbling across the Clockwork Orange passage above, and being thrown by the Russianisms in the third sentence, here’s a malinki glossary (apologies if the Cyrillic comes out as goobledygook on your PC; it looks okay on mine, but I make use of a Russian font sometimes): nagoy (Russian is нагой – nagoi) naked gulliver (голова – golova) head rookers (руки – ruki) arms/hands glazzies (глаза – glaza) eyes rot (рот – rot) mouth slooshying (слушать – slushat’) to listen toYeah, yeah, yeah; I know the meaning’s mostly guessable from the context…okay, I’ll get my coat….

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