I was up a goodly portion of the night reading this book. I didn't mean to be. It's that kind of book, though. Stark, brilliant and uncompromising, this is the story of a couple of kids who find a life less ordinary in the squats of early 1980s England. They also find heroin and love, though they have a hard time telling the two apart.The way Burgess moves his reader from the head of one kid into the head of the next is a perfect vehicle to show how their interdependent rationalizations function. The slippery slope from self-serving narcissistic adolescence to self-serving narcissistic drug addiction is delineated in letters of fire here. The adults on the fringes are nicely drawn as well. The way people wander in and out of the circle is so well done as to be almost invisible. This is a searing portrait of addiction and ruin that rings so true it's painful to read. The characters are not particularly sympathetic, but that also seems right.Extremely minor quibble: there's a perfectly unnecessary glossary in the back- all the British slang is completely obvious in context.