George Orwell's vivid memoir of his time living among the desperately poor and destitute, Down and Out in Paris and London is a moving tour of the underworld of society from the author of 1984, published with an introduction by Dervla Murphy in Penguin Modern Classics. 'You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, ...
George Orwell's vivid memoir of his time living among the desperately poor and destitute, Down and Out in Paris and London is a moving tour of the underworld of society from the author of 1984, published with an introduction by Dervla Murphy in Penguin Modern Classics. 'You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them.' Written when Orwell was a struggling writer in his twenties, it documents his 'first contact with poverty'. Here, he painstakingly documents a world of unrelenting drudgery and squalor - sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses of last resort, working as a dishwasher in Paris's vile 'Hotel X', surviving on scraps and cigarette butts, living alongside tramps, a star-gazing pavement artist and a starving Russian ex-army captain. Exposing a shocking, previously-hidden world to his readers, Orwell gave a human face to the statistics of poverty for the first time - and in doing so, found his voice as a writer. If you enjoyed Down and Out in Paris and London, you might like Homage to Catalonia, also available in Penguin Modern Classics. "Orwell was the great moral force of his age." (Spectator). "The white-hot reaction of a sensitive, observant, compassionate young man to poverty." (Dervla Murphy).
This book is a nice introduction to George Orwell's writing. He and other young Englishman like Patrick Leigh Fermor in the twenties and thirties took to the road and wrote about it. His observations about Paris and London life from the bottom looking up are interesting and, as seems the case when looking at life from this perspective, similar. The book is not too long and the writing engages you. It is free of political perspectives and just what you might expect from someone who wanted to find out what life was like on a tight budget. The restaurant kitchen scenes, after watching Food Network's Restaurant Impossible, are not shocking.
Oct 23, 2008
gritty read that orwell is well known for
Not a cheery book, but for anyone who enjoys realism in writing or stories of hardship, this is the ticket for you. You won't feel broke after you read this book.
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