Intelligent, haunting and incredibly post-modern, Orwell’s bestselling novel is both refreshing and eye-opening in a time of socio-political turbulence.
There’s a reason why Nineteen Eighty-Four had a surge in popularity recently. The classic by George Orwell, written in 1949, feels worryingly timely in the aftermath of Trump, Brexit and more importantly, post-truth politics.
A growing scepticism towards journalism, (fake) news and facts has meant that aspects of reality itself have come into question, and our perspectives have narrowed. It’s easy to interpret the Party members’ blind faith in the one, Big Brother narrative as being somewhat similar to the restrictive environment of online echo chambers.
By far the most interesting part of the book though is the excerpt of “the book” by Goldstein. Although an easy opportunity for Orwell to make his commentary more apparent, it’s here where the writer really shows off his intelligent way of writing through a lengthy essay. Much like Winston, at this point in the novel we become a bit more enlightened about the dystopian world of Oceania and The Party that runs it.
Yet, with this being quite a way into the book, one does wonder if having this essay earlier on in the book in some way would help the reader understand the fictional environment better. Although, this would probably be difficult plot-wise, and like most apocalyptic-style stories, the big reveal as to how the world ended up the way it did is usually left until the end – if it is indeed mentioned at all.
Like any classic, the book does have a fair amount of ‘re-readability’ to it. With a lot of underlying points throughout, it would probably warrant a few more reads before a reader has a better understanding of the philosophical and psychological arguments Orwell is making. Not only that, but with a rather unconventional ending, a few re-reads would help with a lot of things.