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Down and Out in Paris and London

4.09  ·  Rating Details  ·  33,831 Ratings  ·  2,121 Reviews
This unusual fictional account - in good part autobiographical - narrates without self-pity and often with humor the adventures of a penniless British writer among the down-and-out of two great cities. The Parisian episode is fascinating for its expose of the kitchens of posh French restaurants, where the narrator works at the bottom of the culinary echelon as dishwasher, ...more
Paperback, 213 pages
Published March 15th 1972 by Mariner Books (first published 1933)
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Harry I loved it. It offered insight into why Orwell thought as he did.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee1984 by George OrwellThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. TolkienThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldHarry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the 20th Century
403rd out of 6,516 books — 44,310 voters
The Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienGone with the Wind by Margaret MitchellBrave New World by Aldous HuxleyThe Grapes of Wrath by John SteinbeckOf Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
Best Books of the Decade: 1930s
23rd out of 453 books — 734 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jun 29, 2008 Kimley rated it it was amazing
Do not read this book if you are unemployed.

Do not read this book if you are homeless.

Do not read this book if you are worried about the tanking economy.

Do not read this book if you have no retirement savings.

Do not read this book if you don't like eating stale bread and margarine.

Do not read this book if you like eating in restaurants.

Do not read this book if you are sensitive to foul odors.

Do not read this book if you are one of those people who carries a hand-sanitizer at all times.

Do not rea
Bill  Kerwin
Apr 12, 2016 Bill Kerwin rated it it was amazing

As anyone who has read 1984 can attest, Orwell is--among other things--a master of disgust, a writer who can describe a squalid apartment building, an aging painted whore or a drunken old man with just the right details to make the reader's nose twitch with displeasure, his stomach rise into the throat with revulsion. What makes this book so good is that--although he may continually evoke this reaction in his account of the working and the wandering poor--Orwell never demeans or dismisses the hu
May 05, 2014 karen rated it really liked it

this book isn't going to cause anyone to have the huge revelation that "poverty is hard!" or anything, because - duh - but it also doesn't piss me off the way morgan spurlock pisses me off, because orwell makes his story come alive and there is so much local color, so many individual life stories in here that this book, despite being horribly depressing, is also full of the resourcefulness of man and the resilience of people that have been left by the wayside. it is triumphant, not manipulative.
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 26, 2014 Jeffrey Keeten rated it really liked it
“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.”

 photo george_orwell_zps86a90dae.jpg

In 1927 Eric Arthur Blair A.K.A. George Orwell gives up his job as a policeman in Burma and moves back to his lodgings on Portobello Road in London with the intention of being a writer. Like with many artists, writers, and those that wished t
Jul 24, 2013 Rowena rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone!
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 mu
Feb 21, 2012 B0nnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The film Midnight in Paris begins with some beautiful scenes of Paris: the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Seine, the Sorbonne, the Eiffle Tower, the arc de triomphe. And before long, arrives a parade of artistes from the 1920s milieu - Hemmingway, Bunuel, Dali, etc, - all speaking *SparkNotes*. But in the distant background (very distant) I hear a faint sound of et in arcadia ego and Orwell protests “say, I was there in the 1920s too - I saw all that. And I wrote a damn fine book about it”.

That bo
Grace Tjan
Jul 01, 2010 Grace Tjan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Orwell fans, anyone interested in the bumming life
Recommended to Grace by: Rauf
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. There is hardly such a thing as a French waiter in Paris: the waiters are all Italian and German. They just pretend to be French to be able to affect that certain hauteur and charge you exorbitant prices for that mediocre Boeuf Bourgignon.

2. Some of them are spies. Waitering is a common profession for a spy to adopt. It is also a popular profession among AWOL ex-soldiers and wannabe snobs.

3. Real scullery maids do “curse like a scullion”
Apr 26, 2007 Anna rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
George Orwell is a damn good writer. Sure, he whipped out 1984 and Animal Farm, but it's from his essays and nonfiction that I'm learning Orwellian tricks--and by that I mean, the very best sort of craft points.

Yes, I know that his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) is characterized as a novel--usually with some qualifier like "semi-autobiographical" or "thinly-veiled." But given that Orwell saves several chapters for his personal commentary about, among others, the life of a Pa
Poverty is no a sin. Honest work is nothing to be ashamed of . Obviously.
Let’s agree to disagree - Orwell seems to say.
In this part-autobiographical story he depicts how life looked like in Parisian slums and London poorhouses in late twenties XX century. In Paris Orwell used to live in rented rooms,dirty and buggy hovels,for over one year.He had earned some money giving English lessons and writing to the local newspapers but when the money had run out he needed to find a work.Then he first exp
Nov 12, 2015 Lyn rated it liked it
Orwell demonstrates his social conscience and empathy for the poor, which I think, makes his more famous attacks on totalitarianism more credible.

This is also an interesting novel to read for a glimpse into Paris and London of that time, between 1900 and 1930. Orwell worked in some restaurants and his view from the kitchen is far less romantic than Hemingway’s perspective from the table.

Jan 24, 2012 HEILA GH rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ياإلهي أي نوعية من البشر تسطيع أن تكتب عن البؤس بهذه الخفة ؟ رأسي كان يركض في كل الإتجاهات دماغي تحول إلى فرن .

حسنًا لم أفكر بهذه الرواية أبدًا , ولم تكن في هاجسي .
حينما كتب فيصل الرويس " أعرف واحد:أول رواية نصح زوجته بقرأتها كانت "متشرداً في باريس ولندن" لجورج أورويل . وبعد تسع سنوات مازال يشعر بالندم على ذلك. :) "
لم أطق أن أنتظر أكثر لأعرف مالذي يدفع رجلًا بأن يندم تسع سنوات لأنه فقط نصح زوجته برواية ؟

لك أن تهديه لصاحبك الذي ضجرت منه لأنه لايكف عن المفاخرة في المطاعم الفاخرة التي يقصدها . ولي
Laala Alghata
Aug 14, 2010 Laala Alghata rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.” — George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

I am a staunch George Orwell fan. I think he’s absolutely amazing and if you’re limiting yourself to his classic novels (Animal Farm, 1984), you are doing yourself a disservice. His essays and non-fiction books are amongst his best works.

Down and Out is Orwell’s account of the
Jul 04, 2015 Nahed.E rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

آآه جورج أورويل سيجعلني أفكر مائة مرة قبل تناول الطعام في أي مطعم أو فندق بعد قراءتي لهذا الكتاب ^_^
فعلي الرغم من ظروف العصر المختلفة
إلا أن الكاتب قدم صورة واقعية - للاسف - عما يحدث في عالم البؤس والفقر
والشقاء الذي مر به البطل في رحلته من باريس إلي لندن

فالبطل متشرد بين شوارع باريس وأزقة لندن ،
وأنت تقرأ معه وتتشرد معه !
فجورج أورويل بارع في أن يأخذك من مقعدك أو من سريرك الدافئ ويضعك مع البطل في ملجأ واحد ، فانت تسافر معه وتجوع معه وتجلس علي الرصيف في البرد معه ! كل هذا وانت صابر لأنه هو أيضاً ص
Dec 20, 2014 Susan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

First published in 1933, this was George Orwell’s first full length book which made it into print. Although it reads as though the events within it were concurrent, in fact much of the latter part of the book was published as an essay, titled, “The Spike,” while the author was in Paris. However, the fact that events do not necessarily follow the narrative, certainly does not invalidate the book, or the points that Orwell makes – sadly still very valid today.

The first half of the book sees Orwell
Jul 16, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it
Shelves: kindle

How many novelists have had their name turned into an adjective? Although there may be more, at the moment I can only think of three: Proust, Dickens and Orwell. The adjective “Orwellian”, of course, refers to the kind of totalitarian state Orwell depicted so brilliantly in 1984. Maybe there should also be an adjective to refer to the kind of poverty Orwell described equally brilliantly in this, his first published novel. In writing it, Orwell drew on his experiences working as a dishwasher in a
Orwell's first published work, giving a slightly fictionalised account of his experiences of poverty in Paris and London.

His time in London is made into an extraordinary and vital social document, preserving and bearing witness to the painful and shocking history of the tramps. I never realised that these men and women were so called because they were forced by the law that prevented them from staying in one place for more than one night to walk from town to town every day, with the reward of a
The unknown and unsuccessful Eric Blair chose to publish this book under a pseudonym because he didn’t want anyone to be able to identify the real people mentioned in the book. He could always change back to his own name, he considered, if the book was well received, but as we know, he kept the name George Orwell, though in fact Down and Out in Paris and London was his first real, if minor, success.

The fact that the book was marketed as a novel was, according to the foreword in my edition, done
Doğan Sakarya
Apr 30, 2016 Doğan Sakarya rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
George Orwell'ı George Orwell yapan kitap. Kitap ismini hiç bilmediğimiz bir anlatıcı tarafından anlatılıyor. Kitabın otobiyografik olduğu, anlatıcının da yazarın kendisi olup olmadığı hala tartışma konusuymuş. Bence kendisini anlatıyor ki, okurken hissettim bunu.

Paris'in arka sokaklarında başlayan modern kölelik günlerini ve Londra'da geçen berduşluk günlerini anlatıyor kitabımız. Orwell yalnızca anlatmakla kalmıyor; sorunun köküne iniyor, o insanları anlamamızı sağlıyor. Hatta bir çözüm bile
Much like Hemingway's A Moveable Feast, Orwell's heavily autobiographical journalistic novel makes me vaguely uncomfortable—I just can never quite bring myself to fully embrace depictions of "playing poverty" by young white men from bourgeois (or better) backgrounds. Granted, the comparison is a bit unfair, as Hemingway was clearly indulging in a project of retroactive self-mythification and intentionally fudging details while Orwell was attempting something akin to a social exposé, using his ex ...more
Nov 13, 2012 Nigeyb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Throughout 2012 I've been working my way through George Orwell's books, before coming to 'Down and Out in Paris and London' I've read 'Burmese Days', 'The Clergyman's Daughter', 'Coming Up For Air', 'Keep The Aspidistra Flying', and 'The Road To Wigan Pier'. In years gone by I've also read 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', 'Animal Farm' and 'Homage to Catalonia'. I am rapidly coming to the conclusion that he's one of my favourite writers. In his essay Politics and the English Language (1946), Orwell wrote ...more
João Fernandes
Apr 13, 2016 João Fernandes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"In all the modern talk about energy, efficiency, social service and the rest of it, what meaning is there except 'Get money, get it legally, and get a lot of it'? Money has become the grand test of virtue."

The great account of Orwell's time as an unemployed starving youth in Paris, from his uphill battle to find a job alongside an obese Russian officer to his time as a homeless 'tramp' in the streets of London. It is an honest account of the troubles of poverty, but more importantly also a ho
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 28, 2010 K.D. Absolutely rated it it was ok
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Memoir)
Shelves: 501, memoirs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 03, 2012 Ted rated it really liked it
I've loved everything I've ever read by Orwell, including this book which is very autobiographical "fiction", written in the first person as I recall. The temporal setting of the "novel" is sometime in the 1920s I think. This is actually not a bad book to sample Orwell with, of course nowhere near as famous as Animal Farm or 1984, but it reads much like a memoir (a very interesting one) and hence can be experienced as a sample of Orwell's writing style and views on society, without those things ...more
Jun 01, 2015 Arman rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: اقشار مختلف جامه
(پی نوشت بی ربط به کتاب)

از وقتی که عضو این سایت شدم همیشه با این دوراهی مواجه بوده ـم که باید به چه زبانی ریویو بنویسم؛ انگلیسی یا فارسی.خیلی تصمیم سختی بوده و هنوزم هست.نوشتن ریویو به انگلیسی شما را پرت میکنه به دنیایی خیلی بزرگتر و این احساس لذت بخش "عضوی از یک جهان به هم پیوسته بودن" رو به آدم میده، ولی خب متأسفانه ما از کاربرای جدید سایت هستیم و هر ریویویی که می نویسیم زیر خروارها ریویوی قدیمی تر یا محبوب تر مدفون میشه و این احتمال هم هست که هرگز خونده نشن.این ینی شما فقط در حال هدر دادن و
Anas Abukhadijah
Jan 12, 2015 Anas Abukhadijah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
ملاحـظة : سـمعت او قرأت لا اذكر اين ان اوريل قال في مقابلة أو مقالة انه زار الكثـير من الامـاكـن
الفقيرة في آسيا واختلط بمشردين اوروبا ودافع عنهم وطالب بحقوقهم لكنه لم يحبهم من قلبه يوماً ما

لكثرة ال ( أو ) في الملاحظة نتجاوزها الى الرواية

القراءة لاوريل ليس نزهة وإن كانت ممتعة, كل رواية ستخلي ورائها عشرات الأسئلة ذات الصوت المرتفع

من بعض ما اراد اورويل قوله

انك اذا رأيت متشرداً يلتحف جسراً في مدينة ما فلا تنظر له بازدراء لان الارض
اقسى من ان يفترشها بإرادته ولا تخف ان يسرق فراشك الوافر اذا ساعده
Barry Pierce
My first foray into Orwell's non-fiction. A harsh insight into life on the breadline in two major cities, Paris and London. Orwell's view of Paris kind of reminded me of the Paris portrayed in the film La Haine. That may sound odd but in La Haine the director purposely didn't show any of the "touristy" parts of Paris (i.e. the Eiffel Tour and the Arc de Triomphe). Orwell does this as well, he shows Paris as it really was, a slum. I admire this portrayal. There are no rose-tinted spectacles in th ...more
ما بين باريس ولندن يرصد أورويل مشاهد ومشاهدات حية بائسة ولكنها شيقة عن حياة المتشردين في الشوارع والازقة والارصفة والمهاجع (أو السبايك كما تسمى في الرواية) عاشها وعايشها مع أصدقاء له.. كما يلقي الضوء بوصف تفصيلي وجذاب على دور غاسلي الصحون في الفنادق والمطاعم والمتاعب التي تعاني منها هذه الفئة. في الفصل 36 يقوم جورج أورويل بتحليل سلوك (سيكولوجية) المتشرد والضياع الذي يعيشه ثم يطرح عدة أسئلة حول أوضاع المتشردين والفكرة الشائعة في المجتمع عن خطورة هذه الفئة. هو عمل حساس وعميق وحقيقي.
انزعجت من الأخط
Sumirti Singaravel
Consider: When was the last time you entered into a friendly banter with a tramp( I mean with no oozing heart of humanity or without a streak sympathetic tone) Or tossed a coin to a beggar without a self-appreciation about your qualities of altruism? Are you the one who think that all those poor are so because they are lazy-bum? Are you a writer or an artist who is afraid of poverty? Or simply someone who loves eating in big restaurants?

If you are one of the above, this book is meant for your r
Duffy Pratt
Dec 28, 2012 Duffy Pratt rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
I should have liked this more than I did. I get the feeling that I should have read this book 25 to 30 years ago, back when I had my own pretend brushes with poverty. Orwell took a deeper dip in than I ever did. Yet, I still got the feeling that his being down and out veered just a bit towards the pretend. It seems pretty clear that he had some safety valves in place, and chose not to call on them. All the while he was in France, he could have contacted his English friend who ended up setting hi ...more
Apr 11, 2014 Darwin8u rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
George Orwell is one of those writers who you THINK you know when you read his couple, well-known books in your adolescence. Later, when older, you discover that 9/10 of his writing was submerged and hidden from your younger, more innocent self. The more of Orwell's nonfiction I read, the more I love his boldness, clearness, and audacity. Orwell's confidence in his writing is apparent even in his earlier works. Down and Out doesn't make me want to tramp, but it did teach me a couple tricks just ...more
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  • As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning
  • Seven Ages of Paris
  • The People of the Abyss
  • Goodbye to All That
  • Paris France
  • The Belly of Paris (Les Rougon-Macquart, #3)
  • Time Was Soft There: A Paris Sojourn at Shakespeare & Co.
  • 'Rommel?' 'Gunner Who?': A Confrontation in the Desert
  • The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography from the Revolution to the First World War
  • Decline and Fall
  • Ways Of Escape
  • Paris, Paris: Journey into the City of Light
  • Something to Declare: Essays on France
  • Reasons To Be Cheerful
  • Between Meals: An Appetite for Paris
  • Why Orwell Matters
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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“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.” 149 likes
“It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level.” 115 likes
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