Coming Up for Air (The Complete works of George Orwell)

Orwell, George

Published by Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd, 1987
ISBN 10: 0436350297 / ISBN 13: 9780436350290
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Synopsis: This is a full-length novel of George Orwell written on the eve of World War II. George Bowling, the hero of this novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who has an ordinary work and life. One day, after winning 17 pounds from a horse bet, he suddenly feels he has to come up for air, so he keeps away from family and goes back to the village where he grew up to recall the happy childhood. The ruthless reality, alas, destroys all his childhood memories and the town is full of similar houses. The childhood lover becomes a vulgar store owner; the beautiful pond turns into a dump pit full of cans and bottles and the town has changed beyond recognition. Through the discovery of the hero visiting the childhood land, Orwell criticizes all sorts of disadvantages caused by the 'development' of modern society and reveals the material and spiritual confusions of modern people.

Review: 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

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Coming Up for Air (The Complete works of ...
Publisher: Martin Secker & Warburg Ltd
Publication Date: 1987
Book Condition: Fair
Edition: Complete ed.

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Orwell, George
Published by Secker & Warburg, London (1978)
ISBN 10: 0436350297 ISBN 13: 9780436350290
Used Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Goulds Book Arcade, Sydney
(Newtown, Sydney, NSW, Australia)

Book Description Secker & Warburg, London, 1978. Hard Cover. Condition: Good. Dust Jacket Condition: No Dust Jacket. 1978 reprint of the 1939 edition. Volume Seven Only. The front cover has a few whiteout marks. 225 pages. Size: Size F: 9"-10" Tall (228-253mm). Seller Inventory # 143827

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