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Coming Up for Air by George Orwell

Coming Up for Air (original 1939; edition 1969)

by George Orwell (Author)

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1,779306,749 (3.74)61
George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of his holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.… (more)
Title:Coming Up for Air
Authors:George Orwell (Author)
Info:Mariner Books (1969), Edition: First, 288 pages
Collections:Your library

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Coming Up for Air by George Orwell (1939)


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English (27)  French (2)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (30)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
Boğulmamak İçin bitti. Orwell'dan okuduğum 4. kitap oldu.

Kitabın ilk 50-60 sayfası, yazar konudan konuya atladığı için çok sıkıcıydı. Eğer yazara daha önceden aşina olmasaydım kitabı okumayı kolayca bırakabilirdim ama yazarı sevdiğimden kitaba 1 ay ara verdikten sonra kaldığım yerden devam edip kitabı bitirdim. Kitap yazarın diğer kitapları gibi düşünce ve eleştiri ağırlıklı ama diğerleri gibi belirgin bir politik mesaj vermiyor daha çok aklına ne geldiyse eleştirmiş izlenimi veriyor. Kitabı bitirdikten sonra ben şimdi ne okudum :joy: hissine kapılsamda kitabı genel olarak sevdim.

Çevirisinde bir sorun göremedim, gönül rahatlığıyla okuyabilirsiniz.

Not: Kitap Orwell'a başlamak için ideal bir kitap değil. ( )
  Tobizume | Jun 9, 2020 |
"Life's here to be lived, and if we're going to be in the soup next week-well, next week is a long way off."

'Coming Up for Air' is effectively a social document echoing Orwell’s socialist views and tells the story of Fatty George Bowling, a middle-aged man who lives with his wife, Hilda, and their two children on Ellesmere Road, London. George is a very ordinary man in a safe insurance job but who is fearful of the future in which he sees the approaching war.

George feels trapped on Ellesmere Road and in particular by the ironically named Cheerful Credit Building Society and it's owner Sir Herbert Crum. George believes that each deceives the inhabitants in to thinking they own their houses when in reality they don't expanding on what Orwell regards as the upper classes ruling over the working class proletariat and continuing the socialist ideals about fairness and equality first muted in his earlier novel The Road to Wigan Pier. Similarly, George and Hilda attend a meeting on fascism, clearly drawing parallels with what was happening on mainland Europe at the time.

After introducing the Bowlings and the world they live in, readers are transported to George's childhood life in Lower Binfield, where he remembers how ‘it was summer all the year round’, his father’s seed business, his mother’s cooking and in particular his love for fishing. Childhood for George is ‘ a feeling of knowing everything and fearing nothing’, reminding us that we are all nostalgic at times and how we sometimes dream of recapturing past glories but as George informs us, ‘There’s time for everything except the things worth doing’. George eventually enlists for the army and after being demobbed moves away from Lower Binfield.

Twenty-five years later George returns, without telling Hilda, to spend a week in Lower Binfield but finds that the streets that he remembers has been swallowed up by a much larger town as is no longer recognisable, where virtually all his childhood shops have changed hands and no one remembers him of his family, including the local vicar and his first love Elsie Flowers’ whose ‘deeply feminine’ look had disappeared and she was now ‘a fat old woman muddling about a frowzy little shop’. But most importantly to George is the fact that the pond at Binfield House where he once saw some huge carp which he had always dreamt of catching had become a rubbish dump. Realising that the last piece of his childhood has been ravaged by time George returns home only to find out that Hilda has discovered his lies about his whereabouts.

George is a likeable if highly flawed character whereas the female characters are strictly two-dimensional but this shouldn't really detract from this book. Orwell uses irony to portray how the effects of an earlier war has changed society but also reminds us that actions have consequences in our personal lives as well and no matter how much we wish it, it is impossible to turn back the clock. Similarly he reminds us that the future is largely out of our control and instead we should make the most of the present. Whilst this book may not be of the same calibre as his more famous books, Animal Farm and 1984, it does how forward thinking much of his writing was and shows that many Orwellian themes and ideas are still applicable today, as such I feel that it still deserves to be read. ( )
1 vote PilgrimJess | May 10, 2020 |
Açıkçası kitabı okurken biraz boğulduğumu itiraf etmem gerekir. Bunun dışında kitaptaki atmosfer George Orwell'ın bilindik atmosferiydi ve beni içine çekti. Dediğim gibi biraz zorlanarak okudum ama sevdim. ( )
  beyzx | Dec 11, 2018 |
“THE IDEA REALLY came to me the day I got my false teeth.”

With that short opening paragraph I knew Coming Up for Air was going to be a good read - and I wasn’t disappointed. This is a very funny book and George ‘Fatty’ Bowling is a likeable what-you-see-is-what-you get character with no illusions about himself, no affectations at all and, on the face of it, comfortable in his body - even if there are “several parts” of it he “can’t reach”.

I was going to say that this is a ‘good book’ to read, but George said that “... a ‘good’ book was a book one didn’t have any intention of reading.” He is a sensitive fellow in many ways and I don’t want to upset him by contradiction, so I will leave it as a book ‘well worth the time taken to read’.
( )
  GRHewitt | Jan 23, 2018 |
This is one of Orwell's comic novels, but with a serious undertone. It's 1938, and there are hints that England may soon be at war again. "Fatty" Bowling is a middle-aged suburban insurance salesman. He feels oppressed by his wife--"She's one of those people who get their main lack in life out of forseeing disasters. Only petty disasters of course." Disasters such as the price of butter going up, the gas bill being enormous, the kids needing new shoes. His children are monsters: "The truth is that kids aren't in any way poetic, they're merely savage little animals, except an animal is a quarter as selfish." His life is stultifying, and his street "a prison with all the cells in a row. A line of semi-detached torture-chambers."

When Fatty has to get false teeth--a landmark: "When your last natural tooth goes, the time when you can kid yourself that you're a Hollywood sheik is definitely at an end. And I was fat as well."--he decides to stop and run away for a week--to come up for air--to reflect on his life. He returns to his childhood village in an attempt to recapture his idyllic pre-WWI youth. Of course he finds the village irrevocably changed, and the impending war with Germany intrusive. There are even hints of 1984 here:

"The world we're going down into, the kind of hate-world, slogan-world. The coloured shirts, the barbed wire, the rubber truncheons. The secret cells where the electric light burns night and day, and the detectives watching you while you sleep. and the processions and the posters with enormous faces, and the crowds of a million people all cheering the leader till they deafen themselves into thinking that they really worship him..."

We all know that you can't go home again--can't recapture the Edenic past. So while there is plenty of humor in this book, it is ultimately a downer, and even Fatty recognizes this:

"I'm finished with this notion of getting back into the past. What's the good of trying to revisit the scenes of your boyhood? They don't exist! Coming up for air! But there isn't any air. The dust bin that we're in reaches up to the atmosphere." ( )
  arubabookwoman | Apr 19, 2017 |
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» Add other authors (16 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
George Orwellprimary authorall editionscalculated
Demeter, LizCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Getty, HultonCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Komrij, GerritTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth.
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George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of his holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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