George Orwell's paean to the end of an idyllic era in British history, Coming Up for Air is a poignant account of one man's attempt to recapture childhood innocence as war looms on the horizon. George Bowling, forty-five, mortgaged, married with children, is an insurance salesman with an expanding waistline, a new set of false teeth - and a desperate desire to escape his dreary life. He fears modern times - since, in 1939, the Second World War is imminent - foreseeing food queues, soldiers, secret police and tyranny. So he decides to escape to the world of his childhood, to the village he remembers as a rural haven of peace and tranquillity. But his return journey to Lower Binfield may bring only a more complete disillusionment ...'Very funny, as well as invigoratingly realistic ...Nineteen Eighty-Four is here in embryo. So is Animal Farm ...not many novels carry the seeds of two classics as well as being richly readable themselves' John Carey, Sunday Times
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(200mm x 134mm x 15mm)
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
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US Kirkus Review »
A very different dish of tea from his earlier Animal Farm and recent Nineteen Kighty Four both of which instigated aroused controversy, is this book which was published in England before the war. Prophetic in its atmosphere, it is the total recall of George Bowling, 45, which is started by his set of new false teeth and some money he has won on the horses. The morning's events help him envision what will come with Hitler's threats growing stronger, lead him to think of his youth with special intensity and review the sort of secure, continuous life that went with World War I which took him out of the grocery business, turned him loose among books, inspired his thinking. The mental squalor of his life thereafter with Hilda and their two children and his present doubts as to what is coming - and the 17 quid - send him on a secret visit to his old home. It in turn offers only failure as an antidote for the country has turned into town, no one knows or remembers him or his family - everything is disillusion. In London again with the knowledge earned that there is no going back, that what is to come - horrible as it must be - cannot be stopped. Honesty in the picture of a man neither highbrow nor a fool of a poky milleu and the mingy situations of living, of the downhill path to a ghastly flux, this in its backward, introspective look offers a nostalgic, sincere appreciation of a way of life that can never be again, and will prove something new for his followers. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - George Orwell
Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. His novels and non-fiction include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.