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rowena

Rowena's Reviews

My true loves: Wilkie Collins, Leo Tolstoy, Fyodor Dostoevsky, Anais Nin, George Eliot, James Joyce, James Baldwin, George Orwell, Oscar Wilde, bell hooks, Chinua Achebe, Langston Hughes, William Shakespeare... I'm falling for : Italo Calvino, Toni Morrison, Frantz Fanon, Wole Soyinka, Ralph Ellison, Zora Neale Hurston, Albert Camus, Margaret Atwood, Somerset Maugham, Junot Diaz, A.S. Byatt... And the lists continue to grow! I will read almost anything, as long as it's well-written. I always love to expand my reading horizons.

Currently reading

Orientalism
Edward W. Said
Infinite Jest
David Foster Wallace
Finnegans Wake (Trade Paperback)
James Joyce
Down and Out in Paris and London - George Orwell Do not read this book while eating! I've been told that this book is semi-autobiographical. If so, George Orwell had an even more interesting life than I'd imagined! This book was disturbing, insightful and also funny (great, great characters, some just plain weird!)

The first half of the book depicts the main character's experiences living in poverty in Paris.Some of the descriptions about the living and working conditions are quite gruesome. All those bugs! Orwell sheds more light on what it must feel like to be poor; the ennui etc.I don't think I'll be able to eat at a Parisian restaurant anytime soon because now I'm a little paranoid about the cooking conditions.

The second half of the book finds the protagonist back in London and we learn more about what it means to be a "tramp." Equally as disgusting descriptions as those in the Paris section, especially the part where several tramps had to use the same bucket of dirty water for cleaning themselves up, yuck!

Orwell definitely puts a human face on the tramps. He explains how tramping is a huge social problem and then suggests how this problem can be remedied. As I live in Vancouver, the Canadian city with the highest number of homeless people, I agree with his explanations and thoughts.


My only gripe was with this particular edition of the book. Way too many typos, both in English and in French. Also, they censored out some of the swear words, bizarre.

Fantastic book! Orwell rarely disappoints me with his wit and insight.