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Coming Up for Air

3.79 of 5 stars 3.79  ·  rating details  ·  4,879 ratings  ·  276 reviews
George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyon ...more
Paperback, 288 pages
Published October 22nd 1969 by Mariner Books (first published 1939)
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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
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
Jun 29, 2014 Kim rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
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
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
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
Lina AL Ojaili
الأفكار السياسية كانت ضعيفة جدا ورواية عبارة عن سرد مطول عن طفولته و حبه لصيد السمك بطريقة مملة جدا
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.
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 kick started 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
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
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
mai ahmd

...حكاية مواطن يعمل في شركة تأمين يعاني من الشعور بالغربة في مجتمع ما بعد الحرب ويسيطر عليه هاجس حرب قادمة فيجتر ذكرياته قبل الحرب في قريته الوادعة الصغيرة
يسرد أوريل في القسم الثاني سرد مطول عن ذكريات الرجل الأربعيني عن طفولته وأصدقاءه شغبه ومدرسته وأسرته وكل ما دمرته الحرب ليعود له الحنين إلى قريته فيترك زوجته وأطفاله ويعود ليسترجع ما ضاع منه لكنه يكتشف إن ما كان يبحث عنه ما هو إلا سراب
الزمن لايتوقف والعمر يمضي

وجدتها مملة في كثير من أجزائها وخاصة في نهاية الرواية ذكرتني برواية همنجواي عبر ال
Mostafa Hamza
فكانت تأكل وتشرب فى مكان ما في عقلى طيلة السنوات الماضية
ببساطة أثبت جورج أن القرب من الشئ يفسد كل أنواع الشوق إليه , حرر عقله من الحنين وازاله
لقد تبدل كل شئ وتلاشى ,
التشبيهات والاقناع كان الأجمل فى الرواية بلا شك الابدية متمثله فى اهرامات مصر الاستحاله متمثلة فى ارجاع يونس الى بطن الحوت

ييدخل فى النفس البشريه جيدا
لكنهم لم يعرفوا أن ينطقوا اسم المسرحية لكنهن يشعرن بأنهن يحصلن على شئ مقابل لا شئ
الكتاب روعة بكل المقاييس معانى واضحة سرد حقيقى للاحداث
فكرة ان ينهى وجود الشخصية بكلمة وكانت آخر
محمود حسني

هناك آفة ستجدها عندما تقرأ لأديب أي عمل بعد أن قرأت له أفضل أعماله

حدث هذا مع ساراماجو فبعد قراءتي للعمى قليلة هي الاشياء التي استعطت ان اتذوقها له

وحدث هذا اليوم مع اورويل فبعد 1984 .. فكرت ان اقرأ الصعود إلى الهواء ولكن كما قالت لي أحداهن وأنا أناقشها في الاعمال الروائية : كان عملا قليل الطموح.

وهكذا وجدت الصعود إلى الهواء ..
Edwin Lang

I found George Bowling an everyman, and every man and person that he despised for being part of the machinery of society. He lifted a finger for no one. He deceived himself behind a reverie about how he’d love to kill his wife only to be overcome at the thought that he might have lost her. He had children with whom he rarely spent a moment. He had a job he was good at, just. He belonged to a country of which he was a citizen, marginally.

George Orwell’s power of observation and description, thoug
Markus Molina
Orewell is one of my favorite writers, and this is the strangest thing I've read for him. The main character, George, is absolutely undeserving of a story. He is the most normal man I've ever read about. For the first 168 pages, (there's only 278 overall,) it got to a point for me where I was frustrated to the point of anger. I felt like it never got started. The writing was like the intro paragraph most characters get in novels spread into nearly 200 pages. I honestly would have quit this book ...more
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 the taste is that, in addition to calling up the twin spectres of totalitarianism and workless poverty, it also declares the impossibility of 'retai
Peter Mcloughlin
This lesser known work of Orwell's was written in 1939 just before the outbreak of World War II. It was also the last book written by Orwell as a relatively unknown writer. His next book "Animal Farm" would make a big splash and launch him into celebrity. This book is about an ordinary middle class middle aged insurance salesman with a family. It is told from this man's point of view. It is written very much in the modernist mode. The character is quite ordinary and not much action takes place b ...more
Alan Keslian
This novel, published in 1939, is in the form of a fictional memoir. George Bowling, middle aged, middle income, has a wife an 2 kids and is buying a suburban semi on a mortgage. His home life has, largely, become a source of frustration. Having seen action in the first world war, he is becoming fearfully aware of the impending disaster of the second.

He sees a newspaper headline that by chance triggers intense memories of his childhood in a small market town. This book, however, is anything but
I absolutely loved this book from start to finish. Told from the perspective of George Bowling, Coming Up for Air is about a man who has become dissatisfied with his life in pre World War II era London and decides to escape for a week to the town he grew up in. Unfortunately for the now fat, balding and toothless George, he discovers that he is not the only one who time has affected for the worse since his last visit 25 years prior.

The story is driven by George's outlook on life in London, pess
Mashael Alamri
سأعود للكتابة عنها


رواية تحكي لحظات الترقب للحرب, والحياة الرمادية التي يعيشها العالم الأوروبي بين الحربين العالميتين, الحياة الاجتماعية الرتيبة, بطل الرواية رجل, يحكي ماضيه مقترنا بالحاضر محاولة للإمساك بلحظة سعادة هاربة أو نشوة نصر حتى لو بصيد سمكة.
البطل –الراوي- يحاول أن يشرح الفوضى الخفية النفسية والاجتماعية – إن صح التعبير عنها هكذا- ترقب لحرب وتفكير في المستقبل باقتصاد متواضع وحياة لاتعرف هل تعلن أجواء الحرب أو تعود لحياة طبيعية.
رواية شبيهه بـ1984 لنفس الكاتب باختلاف التركيز على نقاط معي
Stephanie "Jedigal"

A poignant trip through the reminiscences and reflections in the mind of a middle-aged middle-class Englishman in between the two World Wars. I really got into this, even though I'm sure it could strike many as boring. I guess I could relate. The author captures so much so well, big things and little - the way we are influenced by our families and our class in a way that creates a core outlook that may never change; the way the truth about war cannot be seen by the young who have n
Gave this 4 starts but had to increase it to 5 after flicking back through the pages that I'd dog-eared with quotes that I liked! Witty, thought-provoking and just a brilliant book. The quotes about Hilda made me laugh-out-loud and the scene with the Primroses was great. I love George Bowling.

“Well, Hilda and I were married, and right from the start it was a flop. Why did you marry her? you say. But why did you marry yours? These things happen to us. I wonder whether you’ll believe that during t
I enjoyed this book immensely, but find it difficult to explain why.

On the surface, the plot sounds like a cliche: A middle-aged man looks back on his childhood with nostalgia for a lost era. But in Orwell's deft hands, his narrator's life becomes a metaphor for all the social upheavals of the early 20th century. Cutthroat capitalism replaces the traditional mom-and-pop shops of the 19th century. Urbanism and mass production. The downward slide of politics into propaganda and the madness of tot
Pat Elliott
I loved this book!
The character of George Bowling told his story, just as you would talk to a friend. As he tells it, Orwell is fabulous at dropping in descriptions, telling you the reality of war as opposed to the propaganda; describing the futility of resisting and the desperation of what's to come. Whether that is war, or the inevitable tongue-lashing from his wife. Each scene is described beautifully, from young George tagging along with the gang; to older George, the fat, invisible man. Th
Soshyans Varahram
Mar 21, 2014 Soshyans Varahram rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: همه
جورج اورول رو یکی از بهترین نویسندگان دنیا میدونم. نویسنده ی پرکاری نبوده ولی هر آنچه نوشته رو میشه چندبار خوند و فکر کرد و درس گرفت.
تا پیش از اینکه این کتاب رو توی مخزن کتابخونه ی سرو ببینم حتی اسمش رو هم نشنیده بودم و راستش قبل از خوندش اول جستجویی کردم و مطمئن شدم این کتاب واقعا از جورج اوروله! نثر روان و ترجمه ی خوب و حتی میشه گفت خیلی خوب به نسبت سال 1368 برگردان قابل احترامی از اثر ارائه میده و بعید میدونم کسی از خوندن این کتاب خسته بشه.
بدون اسپویل کردن ماجرا خیلی خلاصه اگه بخام بگم داستا
George Bowling, in his mid forties and a WWI vet looking at the approach of a new war in the late Thirties reminisces about his life and times. An ordinary guy, not very educated, a commercial traveler with a wife in a slightly higher social cast. He starts out telling the reader about his new false teeth and ends of telling the story of his life. He’s not a terribly interesting guy, but he’s honest and not too hung up on himself. And the everyday detail of someone born at the turn of the twenti ...more
Deep breath.
Christian Schwoerke
This small, well-crafted novel is an interesting time capsule. Orwell packs it with snapshots of what the English lower middle-class life is all about in pre-WWII England (1939), and what the pre-war anticipation must have felt like; additionally, Orwell stows in this capsule a magic lantern show about moments before the first world war that conjure that period's more benign weltanschauung. The first-person narrator is George Bowling, a 45-year-old insurance salesman, earning seven pounds per we ...more
It is quite unsettling how a book written during the interwar period describes the atmosphere in Western Europe today so eerily well. The ominous news items on foreign dictators, war, explosions and angry extremist groups strike fear into the hearts of most of us, but just like in the book this fear tends to be overshadowed by our everyday worries such as doing well in college or getting and keeping a job to pay off our college debts.

I will not go too deep into George Bowling's character or the
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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.

Between 1941 and 1943, Orwell worked on propaganda for the BBC. In 1943, he became literary ed
More about George Orwell...
1984 Animal Farm Animal Farm / 1984 Down and Out in Paris and London Homage to Catalonia

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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.” 33 likes
More quotes…