- Paperback: 196 pages
- Publisher: IndoEuropeanPublishing.com (January 11, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1604443502
- ISBN-13: 978-1604443509
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.4 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 293 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,013,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Down and Out in Paris and London
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Order now and we'll deliver when available.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
It was rough. Blair live hand to mouth, and being among the tramps, beggars, the destitute, he always had to watch his back, for there was always someone out to take his money, clothes, food, anything, at the first chance he gets. Needless to say, Mr. Blair survived and was able to give a clear account.
The book is evenly divided between his stints in Paris, then London. He covers Paris first. Paris is pictured as the lap of luxury, fashions, French architecture. I've been there myself, and it is amazing. Deep down below, in the unseen sections, are the workers, the dishwashers, those who do the dirty jobs to keep Paris glittering. Blair worked as a dishwasher and other similar, back breaking jobs at luxurious hotels, where the work was hard, conditions were unsanitary, and the pay was low. He literally had to pawn his clothes, look for the cheapest rooms to rent, and worked sometimes for 18 hours a day, with very little time to sleep. There were tough bosses and tough landlords, and he had to be tight with his money, buying the cheapest, and lowest quality food. Blair did have buddies to team up with, looking out for each other, and being there for the other when he was starving. Survival produces enemies off the streets, but it also produces great friendships. Blair had to take whatever job was available, for one hotel was opening up promising good paying jobs, but there were delays, so one could not depend on any "promises," for anyone.
London had it own adventure. Here Blair was traveling from spike (a hostel like place where tramps could spend one and only one night, with strict rules with a jail sentence for violating them) to spike, with a partner named Paddy. Again, there are situations where one smuggles in food and money against the rules, where other tramps steal them, and their clothes. If the tramp complained, he would go to jail. There were religious sponsored hostels, with strict rules also, and this simply tells of the travels of Blair and his buddy, obtaining money and food and shelter for the night.
In this book, Orwell/Blair does sympathize with the tramp, where his present situation is not always his fault. These are situations where one loses a job, then his home because he was unable to pay for it, or could never find a job, or many other reasons. This is very similar to today's situations where people are evicted from their homes forcing them to live out on the street or in their cars.
This book is a chronicle of what these people go through, and their actions are a result of their desperate attempt simply to survive.
In the process---never quite explicitly but always by unmistakable implication---he also makes a case for democratic socialism, one of his well-known lifelong causes. From the vantage of the 21st century his assumptions now ring rather simplistic and one-dimensional. But these shortcomings are forgivable, viewed in the context of the time.
Where the book really falls short, however, is in a deceit that Orwell never quite admits. Unlike the real-life characters he depicts, he is in the end a visitor to these milieus, even a voyeur, able at any time to return to his middle-class life in rural England. His pretension to the contrary, regrettably, carries hints of dishonesty, albeit on the margins, and detracts from the power that the book might otherwise have had.
Nevertheless a worthwhile read and one not one easily forgotten.
Orwell wrote this on his actual experiences living in squalor (both with and without work) in London and Paris during the 1920's when he was a young man. He talks about the brutal nature of restaurant work in Paris and details the personal pains of hunger on both sides of the English channel.
It's an easy read, and parts of it are funny (his reactions particularly). Orwell's descriptions are both vivid and succinct, which is not an easy task. Orwell has a fondness for interesting people, and he writes about their lives and language wonderfully.
Most recent customer reviews
The book is, first, well written and easy to read, with a straightforward, intelligent narrative that fits the...Read more