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Coming Up for Air by George Orwell
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Coming Up for Air (original 1939; edition 1969)

by George Orwell

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Member:tony100
Title:Coming Up for Air
Authors:George Orwell
Info:Mariner Books (1969), Paperback, 288 pages
Collections:Your library
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Coming Up for Air by George Orwell (1939)

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English (21)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (22)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Orwell drops the simpering sensibilities and experimental narration of the earlier novels, developing here the vigorous delivery of plain words and thoughts so effective in his later essays and in 'Animal Farm' and '1984'. A suburban clerk everyman looks back nostalgically to an already distant Edwardian golden age, and too to the timeless pleasures of boyhood; but also prefigures the war and upheaval that's round the corner (the book came out in 1939). A memorable portrayal, and a snapshot of the bullish spirit of the English, as well as their chippiness, the latent fear and tension within the bland calm and continuity of the age (that reliable and comforting social order still familiar in the satirical world of Profesor Branestawm's stories, which I note were written in this period too). ( )
  eglinton | Nov 9, 2013 |
Received from Vasha, to send on to another member of the 1001-library. It is still a book I want to read.
Today I got another copy.
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
George Bowlings attempts to come up for air are thrawted in one form of another, also reflection on society. ( )
  wonderperson | Mar 29, 2013 |
I have little toleration for pessimistic people. In real life, I avoid cynics and their defeatist attitudes; likewise, in literature, I tend not to read too much of it either. Yet, there is something fascinating about George Orwell that I keep coming back to and make accommodation for.

On so many levels, he plays into my nostalgia. No, I was not a child of the '80s,'90s and turn of the century... one-hundred-years after George Bowling grew up. I was probably of the last generation to race down to corner store only to spend unnecessary minutes anguishing over the selection of penny candies. George Orwell fictionalizes a true life phenomenon; he taps into a universality that struck close to home, even a century later.

Boys never change. I was much like a young George Bowling. I fished as a child; somehow, the activity slowly became less a part of my life. I biked everywhere, climbing the social ladder based on the model of bike; the number of speeds determined one's independence. I too worked in a grocery as a teenager, and once thought it possible to labor amongst the aisles and goods, seeing the middle-aged men and women who had made retail their career.

Orwell writes with all five senses in mind. For a young Bowling, there were enough similarities to my youth, there seemed no difference.

As I began this review, cynicism has little appreciation for me, yet I for some reason give Geogre Orwell a pass. Perhaps it is my affection for his book 1984 and a nostalgia for Animal Farm? Per chance, he triggers my memories of the punk band The Subhumans. Like so much of British sensibilities, both the band and author share an overt vein that one's life is determined by those in command, and little choices provide a sense of control over one's destiny.

Streams of 1984 were evident in Coming Up for Air, almost like a precursor to a dystopian society was just around the corner. Hitler would have been the catalyst for Big Brother to campaign on safety and slowly develop a system of Ministries.

Overall, it is hard to imagine this book was not in some way - possibly a profound one - an autobiography, a memoir of sorts. ( )
  HistReader | Mar 11, 2012 |
George being his prophetic self ( )
  brone | Oct 1, 2011 |
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He's dead, but he won't lie down - Popular Song
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0156196255, Paperback)

Insurance salesman George "Fatty" Bowling lives with his humorless wife and their two irritating children in a dull house in a tract development in the historyless London suburb of West Bletchley. The year is 1938; doomsayers are declaring that England will be at war again by 1941.

When George bets on an unlikely horse and wins, he finds himself with a little extra cash on his hands. What should he spend it on? "The alternatives, it seemed to me, were either a week-end with a woman or dribbling it quietly away on odds and ends such as cigars and double whiskeys." But a chance encounter with a poster in Charing Cross sets him off on a tremendous journey into his own memories--memories, especially, of a boyhood spent in Lower Binfield, the country village where he grew up. His recollections are pungent and detailed. Touch by touch, he paints for us a whole world that is already nearly lost: a world not yet ruled by the fear of war and not yet blighted by war's aftermath:

1913! My God! 1913! The stillness, the green water, the rushing of the weir! It'll never come again. I don't mean that 1913 will never come again. I mean the feeling inside you, the feeling of not being in a hurry and not being frightened, the feeling you've either had and don't need to be told about, or haven't had and won't ever have the chance to learn.
Alas, George finds that even Lower Binfield has been darkened by the bomber's shadow.

Readers of 1984 will recognize Orwell's desperate insistence on the importance of the individual, of memory, of history, and of language; and they will find in Fatty Bowling one of Orwell's most engaging creations--a warm, witty, thinking, remembering Everyman in a world that is fast learning not to think and not to remember, and thus swiftly losing its mind. --Daniel Hintzsche

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:32:04 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Middle-aged George Bowling perceives the true condition of the world when he visits his childhood home in the late 1930's

(summary from another edition)

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