A Clockwork Orange
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. I was in such bliss, my brothers.
It may not be nice to be good, little 6655321. It may be horrible to be good. And when I say that to you I realize how self-contradictory that sounds. I know I shall have many sleepless nights about this. What does God want? Does God want goodness or the choice of goodness? Is a man who chooses the bad perhaps in some way better than a man who has the good imposed upon him? Deep and hard questions, little 6655321.
What, Mr. Toomey, do you seek out of life?” A very straight question. “To enjoy it. To fix the phenomena of human society in words.” This is the central theme of this novel which doggedly try to fix the mystery of living within the riot of bodies and souls, art and religion, the historical and the individual. Above all, it is about the good and evil played within the many interlocking spheres lives. Don’t expect clean, neat conclusions. The cycle goes on, but each turning of the clog is cogent. “What is the point of the dialectic of fiction or drama unless the evil is as cogent as the good?”, Toomey said once. Exactly, the force of evil should not come as a caricature of red-tights and horns; it comes to good deeds, good intentions, and the accidental intermingling of lives. Evil should be just as cogent as the water and air we take in to sustain mortal life, and quite unaware of it till we face it in certain moments. We are born weak, and our judgment is forever in doubt and error. But we try to be good and do justice to our gifts anyway.
One of main theme is about the difficult task of Love, Love of other people, and Love of God. One does not replace the other, yet these two loves are the twin engines driving the two protagonists — Kenneth Toomey and Carlo Campanini — through out their long lives. It is not “War and Peace”, but it tries and succeeded significantly in creating a new character, a fully-bodied representative of God, Carlo Campanati, relative by marriage to our writer Toomey. Now we hear mostly from Toomey’s narrative which he called as confabulation instead memory, a Forest Gump kind of romp through historical events, however much darker.
Let me admit first what does not interest me — the milieu of artists and writers post WWI, the 20’ to 30’s Hollywood film productions, the pulp fiction creation industry, the British colonial culture in Asia, and Toomey’s tedious pursue of younger partners. However if another reader does not care about Christian theology, then he/she would find much of this book either tedious or irrelevant. For me, the glory of this story is about two men, one apostatized by his own homosexuality, another truly apostolic both in rank and in spirit, confronting the question of Good and Evil in their own lives. Questions of Sin, Free Will and Catholic Orthodoxy morality play the major themes in these two very different men, who traversed their individual lives in different paths yet intertwined due to marriage, friendship and brotherhood.
The cycles of generations and lives have a dark hue of nihilism, considering how each generation turned out so differently, and the good ones died so abruptly and senselessly in wars, random crime, religious tragedy, and ravaging diseases. There is no happy ending, but satisfying endings, both the members of Toomey’s and Campanati’s find their individual endings as fractals from this irreducibly complex human whirlpool of living in time and space.