My first thought when I started reading this book was that Anthony Burgess REALLY likes the fact that he knows Russian. In fact, I suspected that his learning Russian, and contemporary spoken Russian, at that, was accompanied by such powerful psychological torment that he would show us just how good he is, damnit. I will also admit that my knowing a little Russian was the only thing that kept me from stopping to read on the first page, because damnit if my edition didn't have a dictionary!As it turns out, the Russian words in the slang had a specific reason for being there - the teens had incorporated them in their language because of Soviet propaganda. Since this book was published first in 1963, probably right after or during in the Caribian Nuclear Crisis, I can imagine the buzz it created. Because the future in this book feels very, very, very possible, even now, after the Cold War is supposedly over. But this book doesn't just cash in on the American's then mythological fear of the Soviet Union, oh no. It also explores themes like religion, free will, what is socially acceptable or not, and it can even be, if you believe it, a coming of age story. The ludi probably dumali that it's real horrorshow. Alex is easily one of the most delightfully fucked-up anti-heroes I've seen in literature. Only he's not fucked up, no. He just likes to steal, pillage, bludgeon and listen to Beethoven while raping drugged minors. Oh, don't balk - you probably had similar urges at fifteen. That's why it's totally ok that, after you've been cured from your cure, to suddenly fizzle out at twenty one and wish for a nice cozy family life, complete with a 9-5 job, warm meal on the table, white picket fence and a dog. Needless to say that the last chapter (21, if you have it, if not, you guys are lucky) completely falls flat for me. Not only did I not buy it, but I think it offsets the rest of the book. Alex virtually has his free will taken away from him, tries to kill himself when he realizes he can't continue living like this, then regains his free will only to decide that the life society made him lead actually suited his new tastes, and all the rape, pillage and murder was just youthful fancy. What's it gonna be, eh?