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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.
Love this book. Finished it in two days - which speaks for itself, lol!Published 1 month ago by Kelly Rose
Very grim account of the author's poor days in London and Paris, yet written with considerable humor and hope.Published 1 month ago by Joseph Kaminski
Orwell's observations about poverty and the poor don't seem very original or penetrating, and his condescension in places is embarrassing. Read morePublished 1 month ago by mulcahey
This was the first novel of George Orwell. He provided a critical and detailed view of how was the experience of being poor in Paris and London during the 30's of the Twentieth... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Josafat Hernandez
Brilliant book. Orwell had to work his ass off for the material to write this. I preferred the Paris story more than the London story.Published 1 month ago by Peadar
Barbara Ehrenreich wrote the subject titled classic, with the subtitle of “Not getting by in America. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John P. Jones III
The book gave me in sites to poverty in the under class of society both in London and Paris, .Published 2 months ago by Ronald