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In Paris, Orwell lived in verminous rooms and washed dishes at the overpriced "Hotel X," in a remarkably filthy, 110-degree kitchen. He met "eccentric people--people who have fallen into solitary, half-mad grooves of life and given up trying to be normal or decent." Though Orwell's tone is that of an outraged reformer, it's surprising how entertaining many of his adventures are: gnawing poverty only enlivens the imagination, and the wild characters he met often swindled each other and themselves. The wackiest tale involves a miser who ate cats, wore newspapers for underwear, invested 6,000 francs in cocaine, and hid it in a face-powder tin when the cops raided. They had to free him, because the apparently controlled substance turned out to be face powder instead of cocaine.
In London, Orwell studied begging with a crippled expert named Bozo, a great storyteller and philosopher. Orwell devotes a chapter to the fine points of London guttersnipe slang. Years later, he would put his lexical bent to work by inventing Newspeak, and draw on his down-and-out experience to evoke the plight of the Proles in 1984. Though marred by hints of unexamined anti-Semitism, Orwell's debut remains, as The Nation put it, "the most lucid portrait of poverty in the English language." --Tim Appelo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Down and Out In Paris and London, 1933, accurately describes (1) the work hierarchy and frenzied climate in the kitchen of any fine restaurant, and (2) what it’s like, even today,... Read morePublished 5 days ago by M. M.
A wonderfully engaging, vivid book full of deeply human characters with all their flaws and vulnerabilities and triumphs. Read morePublished 15 days ago by joseph
A fascinating account of the life of invisible people. Written about a time almost a century ago but still relevant and sharp.Published 3 months ago by adiko
I have heard it said that it is a sign of ageing when one returns to read the books of one’s youth. Whether this is a true in general is debatable. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Andrew Desmond
Not Orwell's best effort. Try Coming Up for Air instead. I liked most of Orwell's other novels, but gave up on this one after just a couple chapters.Published 3 months ago by bb lambert
Great social history of pre war Paris and London. Experence a side of life not protrayed in film of the timePublished 4 months ago by Linda Mckenna
There is nothing clever or tricky about that title. It is what it is. You might look at it as a travelogue covering a couple very marginal years of one man's life. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Dennis Miller