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Coming up for Air

3.79  ·  Rating Details ·  7,692 Ratings  ·  460 Reviews
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

Paperback, 232 pages
Published 1973 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 1939)
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Popular Answered Questions

Susanj I'm about halfway through, and I agree with you, Peter -- I would not call it comic, or tragi-comic for that matter. Evocative, sad, even depressing…moreI'm about halfway through, and I agree with you, Peter -- I would not call it comic, or tragi-comic for that matter. Evocative, sad, even depressing at times... definitely POWERFUL. (less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Ruthanne Davis I would say the theme is how our world changes. It's a tragi-comic story of a middle aged man who weathers some of his frustrations thinking about the…moreI would say the theme is how our world changes. It's a tragi-comic story of a middle aged man who weathers some of his frustrations thinking about the past and his growing up in a rather rural area and small town. He returns 30 years later only to find that even this part of the world has changed.
Well-written and such a change from Orwell's usual subjects. I truly enjoyed it.(less)
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Community Reviews

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Apr 25, 2015 Paul rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: comic-novels
One of Orwell’s less well known novels; it is a rather bleak comic novel written and set in 1938/1939. It is a well written novel about nostalgia, the lower middle classes, relationships between men and women and middle age. Orwell is primarily a political writer and as he said himself, “Every line of serious work that I have written since 1936 has been written, directly or indirectly, against totalitarianism and for democratic socialism.” Given works like 1984 and Animal Farm, it isn’t surprisi ...more
Nov 19, 2013 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Note on the Text

--Coming Up for Air
Jul 08, 2012 Darwin8u rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
“That's the way we're going nowadays. Everything slick and streamlined, everything made out of something else.”
― George Orwell, Coming Up for Air


A novel that explores the pastoral life and experiences of youth in Edwardian England before the First World War as a memory of a man who is anxious about his own existence and pessimistic about his nation's inevitable progress towards another world war.

I think John Wain was right when he said, "What makes _Coming Up For Air_ so peculiarly bitter to t
When I first had a look at this, I wondered if it was really by the same George Orwell. It certainly didn't seem to be anything like 1984 or Animal Farm. But it was indeed he. I spent most of the book wondering if anything was actually going to happen in this story. And nothing really did. I hated it at first, but for some reason I kept coming back to it. It grew on me.

The protagonist, a fat and rather unlikeable father of two named George Bowling, leads a rather boring middle-class existence in
MJ Nicholls
Released in 1939, Coming Up for Air is perhaps the final kiss-of-death to pre-war life in miserable old England, and the first ready-for-war book to soberly embrace the next six agonising years. The protagonist George is a First World War veteran whose life has settled into the predetermined routine of people of his class and age—a travelling insurance position, a nagging harridan of a missus, and two kids too many. After kvetching about his sorry lot in Part One, he recalls his childhood in Par ...more
Jun 29, 2012 Nigeyb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My preoccupation with British literature set in the immediate pre-WW2 era and in, or around, London continues. I recently read Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton and that kickstarted a whole fascination with English literature set in or around London c1939. In addition to Hangover Square, particular recent highlights include...

London Belongs to Me
The Slaves of Solitude
Of Love And Hunger's a rich vein that I continue to mine.

"Coming Up For Air" was my first George Orwell since "Homage to C
Jun 12, 2014 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

George Orwell had a way of grabbing the reader’s attention with opening sentences. The first sentence of 1984, for example, has stuck in my mind since I first read the novel over forty years ago: “It was a bright day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen.” The first sentence of this novel is just as memorable: “The idea really came to me the day I got my new false teeth”. If the opening of 1984 foreshadows the dystopia in which that novel is set, the opening of this one suggests the wo
Oct 12, 2011 Vinny rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is amazing. I rarely connect on multiply levels with characters in books, but I have a huge connection with Tubby Bowling. I see myself in him, or I should say I could see my life going down his path, because he is disappointed with his life and where is at. He had a lot of big dreams but they all fell one by one to end as an insurance salesman with a decent house in suburbia and a disliked family. This is one of Orwell's forgotten masterpieces in that few look beyond his 1984 or Anima ...more
Sep 07, 2016 Ebru rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kitaptan notlar :
- Ev işleri için tutulan bir kadın ona göre mutlaka pisliği dolap altına süpürür.
- Her şeye vakit vardır ama yapmaya değer şeyler hariç. Sahiden önemsediğiniz bir şeyi düşünün. Sonra sadece ona harcadığınız zamanı saat saat toplayın ve hayatınızın ne kadarcık bir bölümünü kapsadığını hesaplayın.
- Savaştan önce hep yazdı – daha önce söylediğim gibi, bir yanılsama tabii ama hatırladığım bu.
- Bu günlerde fikir sahibi herkes korkudan kaskatı kesiliyor.
- Yapmak istediğimiz şeylerin h
Mar 01, 2016 Sawsan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
نزهة" عنوان لترجمة نُشرت عام 1969 لرواية جورج أورويل
Coming up for air
ولها عنوان عربي آخر وهو"الصعود إلى الهواء

نظرة الانسان للماضي وقدرته على تذكُر ملامح الأماكن والأشخاص في حياته
بمرور السنين لا يبقى شيء كما كان ولكن تبقى الذكريات التي نحملها معنا ونستعيدها من وقت لآخر
رجل في منتصف العمر يحكي عن ذكريات طفولته وشبابه في بلدة انجليزية في بداية القرن العشرين, حياته الهادئة ومتعه البسيطة في عالم ما قبل الحرب العالمية الأولى
وبعد سنين في عام 1938 وما بين قلق وترقُب الحرب العالمية الثانية, وعادية وملل
Lorenzo Berardi
This is my fifth Orwell and the one I liked the most, so far.
I reckon how I should reread (and in English at this time) both "1984" and "Animal Farm" before putting "Coming Up for Air" on top, but at the moment it stands there.

So why have I liked this novel so much?
Oh, there are several and kind of personal reasons.

To begin with, I had the chance to spend some time in the tiny village of Sutton Courtenay where Eric Arthur Blair better known as George Orwell rests. Sutton Courtenay is just a
Mar 18, 2014 Greg rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Coming Up For Air is written in the first person as George Bowling, although George Orwell doesn't take long to break out in the first 30 pages with his own social critique on housing estates 'rackets' & developers etc. It took me a while to warm to George Bowling's 'voice' as the narrator.

Part II is a change in conversation from Part I. Part II starts off with George Bowling realising how much his life has changed since he was a young lad. Then for the next 93 pages George is reminiscing on
Metin Yılmaz
Nov 15, 2015 Metin Yılmaz rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: necessarily
Çocukluk, aile, savaş, kasaba, yaşlılık, hayat ve ölüm. Dümdüz blokları olan bir kitap. Konuşma belki yok denecek kadar az. Ama buna rağmen bu kadar sürükleyici olması ve elden bırakamadan okunması yazarın ve çevirmenin yeteneği elbette. Çok beğendim üzerine yazacağım çok şey var ama bence siz hiç burada vakit kaybetmeyin ve Orwell'in tüm kitaplarını okumayı hedef edinin.
Lina AL Ojaili
الأفكار السياسية كانت ضعيفة جدا ورواية عبارة عن سرد مطول عن طفولته و حبه لصيد السمك بطريقة مملة جدا
Shaimaa Ali
محاولة يائسة للتنفس .. لاستنشاق بعض من الهواء بعيداً عن طابع الحياة الروتينية الكئيب لرجل أربعينى

يأخذنا أورويل هنا إلى ذكرياته عن الحرب ..عن جنون هتلر .. وعن شكل إنجلترا بعد الحرب والتغيرات الإجتماعية والإقتصادية التى لحقت بها

رواية ممتعة ..ذات شجون إنسانية .. ونهاية مبتورة
هى فقط ليست 1984 أو مزرعة الحيوانات!!

الترجمة إلى العربية سيئة - للمترجم عبد الله فاضل!

- عندما تقتل إمرأة فإن زوجها هو دائماً أول المشكوك بهم وهذا ما يعطيك لمحة صغيرة غير مباشرة عن حقي
Loved it, just loved it. Orwell is fast becoming one of my favourite authors. Love his humour, wit and sarcasm. Lovely story about nostalgia which I would definitely read again.
Fraser Kinnear
I didn't expect this to be such a funny book. It was funny to the degree that you can expect any old writer to be funny - the writing was sharp, and the narrator was oafish with some funny lines.

The protagonist, a fat, bumbling, middle class Englishman came across as a dark version of Oliver Hardy. Full disclosure, I've never seen Laurel and Hardy, and they may be just as dark for all I know.

The story also put into words my distaste for the empty, "middling" class, powerless but informed rut so
Sep 10, 2015 Beatlezu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subir a por aire, es el libro de Orwell que mas eh rayado, subrayado, puesto caritas o etc. Si están esperando algo mas de 1984 o Rebelión en la granja, no cojan este libro todavía, es mas descriptivo, tiene pocos diálogos y aveces eso lo hace algo aburrido (lo de los peces, por Dios :/ ) . Pero a la ves no, por que el protagonista/narrador es una persona con un sentido del humor y conciencia muy peculiar, que parece basado en alguien real. Aveces me preguntaba si realmente este libro lo escribi ...more
Zeynab Babaxani
نمیتونم به این کتاب نمره ی پنج بدم. من جورج اورول رو دوست دارم. حرف هاش رو دوست دارم. سبک نوشته اش رو دوست دارم اما اگر این کتاب رو کسی به جز اون نوشته بود کتاب رو نمیپسندنم
کتاب ترکیبی بود از سبک هانریش بل که دوست داشتم
و موضوعش در بخش هایی از داستان نزدیک به کتاب ناطور دشت میشد
در کل نمیتونم بگم خوب بود. بهتر میدونم بگم سرگرم کننده بود.
“THE IDEA REALLY came to me the day I got my false teeth.”

With that short opening paragraph I knew Coming Up for Air was going to be a good read - and I wasn’t disappointed. This is a very funny book and George ‘Fatty’ Bowling is a likeable what-you-see-is-what-you get character with no illusions about himself, no affectations at all and, on the face of it, comfortable in his body - even if there are “several parts” of it he “can’t reach”.

I was going to say that this is a ‘good book’ to read,
Dec 29, 2013 Helen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I think I need to start this review with an apology to George Orwell because like many people, I read Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four as a teenager and assumed I'd read everything by Orwell that was worth reading. I was obviously wrong because Coming Up for Air is a great book, though very different from his two most famous novels. In a way, though, I'm glad I've waited until now to read it because I'm not sure I would have appreciated it as much when I was younger.

Coming Up for Air was pub
Ayse Bilgen
Nov 29, 2015 Ayse Bilgen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kitabı vasatça özetlersem:
"Kırkbeş yaşında, göbeği giderek büyüyen, evinin taksitlerini ödemekle uğraşan George Bowling, evli ve çocuklu, yeni takma dişlere sahip sigorta pazarlamacısı bir adam. önce birinci dünya savaşını yaşar, sonra da faşizm yıllarını. yemek kuyruklarını, askerleri, gizli polisi ve zorbalığı seyreder. On altı yaşından beri hiç yapmasa da balık tutmayı çok seven George cocukluğunun dünyasına, huzur ve sükun dolu bir yer olarak hatırladığı köyüne sığınmaya karar verir. Ancak..
Mar 26, 2016 Daren rated it really liked it
Narrated by George Bowling, a man in his late 40s, living in the suburbs with a wife and two children, with an unexciting but stable white collar job, this is a book of reminiscences and a nostalgic look back over his life. Overweight, and with false teeth,George is a first world war veteran, now working in insurance, travelling regularly in an escape from his wife and children.

Set in the pre WWII early 1940s, this book takes us through the life of George Bowling, as a child and adolescent pre-W
Büşra Göç
Jan 05, 2016 Büşra Göç rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Orwell her zamanki gibi kendine has salt bir dil kullanmış. Sizi hiç sıkmadan, delice detaya girmeden, aforizmalar yaratmadan açık bir şekilde yazıyor. Bu budur, şu şudur gibi okuyucuyu sıkacak tespitlerde bulunmuyor. O eserini ortaya koyuyor, sade bir dille öyküsünü anlatıyor, siz anlamanız gerekeni zaten anlamış oluyorsunuz. Kitaplarından alınan tat bu sebeple kat be kat artıyor. Orwell'ı benzer tarzdaki diğer yazarlardan sıyıran da bu.

Gelelim tam tadında Boğulmamak İçin kitabına. Geor
ثاني رواية لي مع جورج أورويل بعد روايته متشرد في باريس ولندن
واعترف إنني استمتعت بروايته الأولي أكثر بكثير من هذه الرواية
ربما يكمن الخطأ في توقعاتنا بشأن الأدباءالذين نقرأ لهم
فنتوقع في كل مرة أن تعجبنا الرواية
وطبعا هذا أمر غير مضمون علي الإطلاق

مشكلة هذه الرواية ليست في الفكرة
بل في السرد الكثير لدرجة الملل

ولكن فكرتها رائعة بالتأكيد

فكرة الرغبة في العودة إلي زمن الماضي
أن تعود لأيامك وشبابك وحماقاتك وضحكاتك الماضية
أن تعود لزمن مر وولي ، ولن يعود أبداً

وكانت هذه مشكلة البطل

فحين رغب في العودة إلي بلدته
داليا شعلان
لقد كنا نملك في الماضي شيئا لم نعد نملكه الان..شئ لا يمكن امتلاكه في حياتي الحالية..شئ رجعت ابحث عنه و لم اجده و مع ذلك لا ازال اؤمن بوجوده

ان رائحة الأزهار هي نفسها بالنسبة لي..لكن هل رائحته هي نفسها بالنسبة للأزهار

يموت الانسان عندما يتوقف دماغه ..اقصد عندما يتوقف دماغه عن استيعاب أفكار جديدة

تستمر الأشياء بالحدوث و تستمر الحياة كالحرب تماما

ان موته يؤلمني الان اكثر مما آلمني في حينه

يا الله ما اجمل ذلك العام..هدوء و خضرة و هو لن يتكرر ثانيا..لا اقصد ان العام هو الذي لن يتكرر ..إنما الشعور الداخلي
2016'da okuduğum ilk kitap Boğulmamak İçin'di.

Boğulmamak İçin, esas olarak iki durumu merkezine almış: savaşın insan üzerindeki etkileri ile giderek daha beter bir hale gelmeye başlayan kapitalist dünya. George Bowling, Birinci Dünya Savaşı'na katılmış, o biraz daha şanslılardanmış, evine sağ salim dönmüş; ancak hiçbir şey eskisi gibi olmamış. Yeni bir savaşın arefesinde çocukluğunu geçirdiğini yere dönüyor George. Orada huzuru bulmak istiyor; fakat döndüğü yerin zamanında terk ettiği yerle hiçb
Daniel Gonçalves
Originally posted here

Written in a Europe on the verge of war, this book reveals itself as dauntingly realistic: an accurate portrait of what it was like to be alive in such tension-filled times. “Coming Up For Air” is its title, but it could also serve as the accurate description of the act of reading it. George Orwell delivers a story that doesn't allow you to breath. That is, it does not give the reader an opportunity to digest all the intricate meanings he purports. However, its theme is ea
Orwell mi je najdraži autor pa kad sam naletio na ovu knjigu u knjižnici na izlogu nisam mogao odoljeti i preskočila je sve što je bilo zacrtano taj dan da se ima dignuti i čitati.
Stoga manjka entuzijazma sa moje strane nije nedostajalo.
Priča je dosta netipična za samoga autora, čitajući imao sam dojam da se traži što želi sljedeće pisati, kao da je sama knjiga onaj esej koji dobijemo na početku nižih razreda da uradimo na temu što smo radili na praznicima. Ova opaska ne utječe na kvalitetu pis
Aug 02, 2016 Sonia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subir a por aire es la historia de una búsqueda, de la añoranza de los tiempos de la infancia y la juventud que siempre fueron más felices, y aprovechando esta empresa llevada a cabo por el protagonista, el autor nos muestra cómo era la vida rural en la Inglaterra de antes de la I Guerra Mundial.
No es este un libro típico de George Orwell al que conoceréis por Rebelión en la granja o 1984. Se trata de una obra temprana dónde ya aparece cierta crítica social pero dónde el foco de la narración se
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Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a a police officer with the Indian Imperia
More about George Orwell...

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“أليس غريباً أن نمضى حياتنا ونحن نفكر بالأشياء التى نحب
أن نفعلها ولا نستطيع”
“Perhaps a man really dies when his brain stops, when he loses the power to take in a new idea.” 43 likes
More quotes…