is a novel
by English writer Anthony Burgess
. Originally published in 1978, it was inspired by, and was intended as a tribute to, George Orwell
's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four
is in two parts. The first is a series of essays
(Burgess is the voice of the interviewer and the interviewee) discussing aspects of Orwell's book. The second is a novella
set in 1985, seven years distant at the time of the novel's writing.
Rather than a sequel to Orwell's novel, Burgess uses the same concept. Based on his observation of British society and the world around him in 1978, he suggests how a possible 1985 might be if certain trends continue.
The main trend to which he is referring is the expanding power of trade unions
. In the hypothetical 1985 envisioned in the book, the trade unions have become so powerful that they exert full control over society; unions exist for every imaginable occupation. Unions start strikes with little reason and a strike by one union usually turns into a general strike
Another major theme of the novella is the rise of Islam
as a major cultural and political force in Britain, due to large-scale immigration from the Middle East
abounds with mosques
and rich Arabs.
At the novella's beginning, the protagonist, Bev Jones
, confronts the death of his wife. She was in a hospital when it caught fire. As the firemen's union was striking, the hospital burned to the ground. (In reality, the UK firemen's union... Read More