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Keep the Aspidistra Flying Paperback – March 19, 1969
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"Keep the Aspidistra Flying" one of the most starange titles you ever see, is about a "poet" (and formerly a copywriter for advertizing company) Gordon Comstock, who, with sudden desire to be free from the curse of money, left this good job and starts the life of an aspiring artist. As he had previously a book of his own poems published (the title "Mice"), and received a review from The Times Literary Supplement, which said "exceptional promise," why not pursue his way as an artist? And his next project "London Pleasure" which must be the next Joyce or Eliot will be completed soon, probably next month, or next year perhaps....
As his misadventure starts, Rosemary, his long-suffering but always faithful sweetheart, naturally is dismayed, and it takes a long time for him to realize that his happiness, whatever it is, is possible with her presence. But aside from the romantic aspect of the novel, which in itself is well-written with good portrait of independent Rosemary, the book attracts us with the author's satire on the middle-classness of England, which is represented by those ugly, die-hard aspidistra decorating the windows of every house. Gordon's loathing of respetability is deftly turned into a dark comedy that attack the parochical mind of some people, sometimes including Gordon himself.Read more ›
This novel is enjoyable on many levels.Read more ›
Perhaps you're right that it is not as good as that book. I definitely don't see myself reading it more than three times as I have with that one. Unless one is intimately familiar with Orwell's ouvre on the whole-and not just Animal Farm and 1984-I could see how they could come to this conclusion.
However, if you have read any of Orwell's essays (his criticisms of concurrent literature, his defenses of and attacks on socialism, his biographical works), you will see that this book fits in nicely with the rest of his work. If it were just for those two aforementioned books, Orwell would still have a high place in the literary canon, but there is so much more to his style than his writings/warnings against fascism.
I would not recommend reading this one until one has also read Down and Out in Paris and London and Road to Wigan Pier. Once those two have been taken in, the simple beauty of Keep the Aspidistra Flying will be more apparent. In those two relatively lesser-known works, Orwell expounds on the philosophy that is more indicative of his place in literature than the Winston Smith paranoia. One of Orwell's chief concerns in writing, it seems to me, was in displaying how the effects of money can rule one's life more than any government. In Down and Out and Wigan, we see what abject poverty-when it isn't a choice-can do to the human spirit. In Aspidistra, we have a main character-Gordon Comstock-who seems to accept this as a given, and supposes that, when this kind of poverty is a choice, one can break free of the trappings of the capitalistic burden.
This is the thrust of the work.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I couldn't put this book down as it was a very enjoyable read, however, on finishing the book, I feel I have an insight into what being poor is really like. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
A total idiot, a jerk, a bum, an obssessive-compulsive snob: that's the task Orwell took on forming his main protagonist, Gordon. Read morePublished 4 months ago by JTR
An interesting book. Not one of Orwell's stronger efforts, but it was still a worthwhile read from one of the 20th century's more influential authors. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Joseph Scamman
I am reviewing the Kindle Electronic version of this book. I don't know how to better identify it. It is loaded with punctuation and spelling errors. It clearly needs proofreading. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Paul Phillips
You won't like the protagonist in the beginning, nor at the end.Published 10 months ago by Owen Dimock
The novel was wonderful--an Orwell work that somehow I'd missed. But the edition is rather snarky. The blurbs on the back are suffused with hilariously non-standard English, and... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Dale Edmonds
I can only say if you like noels in which the protagonist is a thoroughgoing ass, you may go for this one.Published 10 months ago by tom