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Burmese Days

3.82  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,837 Ratings  ·  800 Reviews
Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, this book describes corruption and imperial bigotry. Flory, a white timber merchant, befriends Dr Veraswami, a black enthusiast for the Empire, whose downfall can only be prevented by membership at an all-white club.
Hardcover, 287 pages
Published 1950 by Harcourt Brace (first published 1934)
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Will Burmese Days is his earliest work, and not his best; however, it does expose the illusions and racism of the British Raj in India brilliantly.…moreBurmese Days is his earliest work, and not his best; however, it does expose the illusions and racism of the British Raj in India brilliantly. Moreover, I loved Keep the Aspidistra Flying, the writing is so lucid & concise. (less)
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Petra X
Totally rewritten 19th May 2013.

Set in the days of the Empire, with the British ruling in Burma, this book describes corruption and imperial bigotry. Although this was Orwell's first book and no doubt based in part on his experiences in his first job as a policeman in Burma, his talent is already fully developed, the writing is superb, the characterisations rounded and lively. Another of his stories from this time and location is also a favourite of mine, Shooting an Elephant

Burmese Days is esse
Sarah (Presto agitato)
Oct 19, 2015 Sarah (Presto agitato) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orwell, india
Poor Flory. If only he'd had the good sense to be born into an E.M. Forster novel instead of one by George Orwell, he might have had half a chance.

Burmese Days, Orwell’s second book, draws on his own experiences as a police officer in imperial Burma in the 1920s. The novel describes the experiences of John Flory, an English timber merchant living in a Burmese outpost. Flory feels increasingly estranged from the other Europeans. His only real friend is a Burmese doctor, despite the disapproval of
Henry Avila
Mar 02, 2015 Henry Avila rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the 1920's, an obscure young Englishman named John Flory, obviously modeled after George Orwell, himself, goes to colonial Burma, to make his fortune, "The Road to Mandalay", this is not. The writer had been a policeman there too, for five years. Flory becomes a timber merchant, in the north of the country, and living in Kyauktada (Katha). A small town of 4,000, at the edge of the formidable jungle, but it is the capital of the district, with a railroad, hospital, courts and a jail of course, ...more
There’s a map of the village of Kyautada in my edition of Burmese Days, a map which is based on a drawing done by Orwell himself. My heart skips when I see a map in a book; I know immediately that the geography of the place will be somehow important, and Orwell’s map, with little arrows tagged UP and DOWN alongside the roads, gives an almost three-dimensional idea of the terrain, showing that the village was built on the side of a hill. The few buildings strewn along the slope are tagged with th ...more
Feb 24, 2012 B0nnie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

"The whole body of policemen, military and civil, about a hundred and fifty men in all, had attacked the crowd from the rear, armed only with sticks. They had been utterly engulfed. The crowd was so dense that it was like an enormous swarm of bees seething and rotating. Everywhere one could see policemen wedged helplessly among the hordes of Burmans, struggling furiously but uselessly, and too cramped even to use their sticks. Whole knots of men were tangled Laocoon-like in the folds of unrolle
Barry Pierce
Imagine sitting in a small, dark room with George Orwell sitting ten inches away from you shouting the words, "RACISM" and "IMPERIALISM" at you for two hours. That's what it's like reading this novel. Orwell wants to get his message across so strongly that he completely forgets that coherent plots and characters are essential in fiction. However I must say that Burmese Days is written very well (as with all of Orwell's works) and it has a disgustingly pessimistic ending (which is always a major ...more
Aug 18, 2015 Edward rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sketch-map of Kyauktada
A Note on the Text

--Burmese Days
MJ Nicholls
George’s fictionalised account of his time in Burma with our brave old lads in the Indian Imperial Police. Flory is our antihero, desperately striving for decency and brotherhood and love in a moral backwater populated by the drunk whore-mongering Old Guard English and corrupt local blackmailers, rapists and tyrants (rolled into one here as U Po Kyin). Caught in the middle are the unfortunate Burmese and Indians trapped in an easily manipulated honour system, ruled over with contempt by the inst ...more
Sep 16, 2013 Kim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

I’m on a bit of a George Orwell kick at the moment. Until a few months ago, my experience of Orwell’s writing was limited to the truly brilliant 1984. I’m not sure why I’d not read anything else he wrote, particularly given that I’ve read 1984 multiple times. In any event, a walking tour in Paris which took in the street where Orwell (then just plain Eric Blair) lived and which is evoked in the first scene in Down and Out in Paris and London led me to read that particular work and now I can’t ge
Ahmad Sharabiani
Burmese Days, George Orwell
عنوان: روزهای برمه؛ نویسنده: جورج (جرج) اورول؛ مترجم: مرتضی مدنی نژاد؛ تهران، آوا، 1363، در 416 ص؛
عنوان: روزهای برمه؛ نویسنده: جورج (جرج) اورول؛ مترجم: پروین قائمی؛ تهران، کتاب آفرین، 1363، در 367 ص؛
عنوان: روزهای برمه؛ مترجم: زهره روشنفکر؛ تهران، مجید، 1389، شابک: 9789644531088در 367 ص؛ چاپ سوم 1392؛ چاپ چهارم 1393؛
عنوان: روزهای برمه؛ مترجم: آوینا ترنم؛ تهران، ماهابه، 1389، شابک: 9789644531088در 442 ص؛
عنوان: روزهای برمه؛ مترجم: فرزانه پورفرزین؛ تبریز، اختر، 1393، شابک
สฤณี อาชวานันทกุล
สนุกดี นิยายจิกกัดเสียดสีระบอบอาณานิคมอังกฤษในพมา ตัวเอกเปนคนผิวขาวคนเดียวทังเรืองทีพอ "เขาใจ" และ "เหนใจ" ชนพืนเมืองคือชาวพมา แตกเปน anti-hero ไมใช "พระเอก" เพราะมีนิสัยเสียหลายอยาง โดยเฉพาะความขีขลาดตาขาว สันหลังยาว ฯลฯ ราวกับวาผูเขียนคือ จอรจ ออรเวล ระดมเอาแบบฉบับ (stereotypes) แยๆ ทังหมดของคนอังกฤษยุคลาอาณานิคมมารวมไวในนิยายเลมเดียว ซึงกอาจทำใหนิยายเรืองนีดูอคติและเหนือจริงมากกวาสมจริง ถาผูอานคนนีไมบังเอิญไดรูจักเพือนตัวเปนๆ ทีมีนิสัยละมายคลายกับตัวละครในเรือง นันคือ คนอังกฤษทีคิดวาชาติตน "เ ...more
Sam Quixote
George Orwell’s first novel, Burmese Days, is a damning look at British Imperialism and the effects of colonialism on both the British and the native populace. John Flory is an expatriate timber merchant who has lived in Burma for 15 years and become thoroughly jaded, spending his days drinking and whoring in a miserable haze. Then Dr Veraswami, his Indian friend, desperately implores Flory for membership to the European Club which he knows is the only thing that would save him from corrupt and ...more
In George Orwell's essay "Why I Write," he says that his first published work of fiction, Burmese Days (1934), is the kind of book that he aspired to write at the age of sixteen when a passage from Milton's Paradise Lost sent "shivers down [his] backbone." Specifically, Orwell says that he wanted to write "enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similes, and also full of purple passages in which words were used partly for the sake of their s ...more
Dec 09, 2008 Mukikamu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is extraordinary that I haven’t read Burmese Days before. I owe my thirst for colonial novels an apology. However, better later than never to bump into a classic. Orwell’s book flashes qualities of Bates in descriptions of Burman climate, wildlife and living circumstances, plus adds highly enjoyable critical view of British colonial society and politics of the 1920s. The tragic love story naturally is of secondary importance.

” A cool breath of wind blew up the hill. It was one of those moment
Grace Tjan
Orwell's scathing denunciation of British colonialism won't win awards for subtlety, but still a powerful, unsparing account of colonial characters and their tragic foibles. The humor is of a dark variety, and as the story progresses, it feels like an agonizingly slow train wreck making its way through the fetid jungles of Burma. Virtually all the characters are unlikable --- perhaps some depth is sacrificed in the interest of illustrating the excesses of the system and the people who run it --- ...more
Mohamed al-Jamri
هذا هو ثاني كتاب ألفه جورج أورويل وهو عبارة عن رواية مبنية على أحداث حقيقية شهدها في بورما التي كانت جزءاً من مستعمرة الهند أثناء خدمته لخمس سنوات كضابط شرطة. اختار أورويل الرواية لايصال رسالته ضد الاستعمار ﻷنه خاف من الملاحقات القضائية إن كتب الأسماء الحقيقية للأشخاص المتورطين في هذه الأحداث.

تدور الأحداث بشكل بطيء وملل بعض الشيء، وتتطرق لفساد وعنصرية المسؤولين في بورما تحت الاستعمار البريطاني، ولكنها كذلك تشير لبعض فوائد الاستعمار ولطريقة تعاطي السكان مع المستعمرين. شخصية البطل تمثل أوريل والذي
Feb 04, 2015 Pink rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's Orwell.
It's fantastic.
What more is there to say?
Mar 25, 2011 Asa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1001-books
There's something about the way George Orwell writes that draws me into the story and keeps me reading, even though I can see everything going wrong and most of the characters are unpleasant, which could be because all of them are trapped in the colonial system and none of them are strong enough to get away from it. The story takes place in Burma, on a small station where only a handful of white people live, in the early part of the twentieth century when Britain was still an Empire and everyone ...more
Aug 03, 2010 Ally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-classics
Only 30 or so pages into this book I was overwhelmed by the depiction of racism in the British Raj...I'm now pondering whether I find it shocking because of my modern perspective OR whether it would have always been this shocking even when Orwell wrote it? - There is a line about Ellis being " of those Englishmen - common unfortunately - who should never be allowed to set foot in the East" (the bottom of page 21 in my Penguin Modern Classics edition) - That piques my interest in the Britis ...more
Jul 15, 2012 Rowena rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, orwell
I was going to mark it as 3 stars because I didn't like the ending but I really enjoyed reading this book so I changed my mind. As a person who spent her teen years in a former British colony, albeit in the 90s, I could identify with a lot that the book talked about. It still shocked me how racist the Europeans were to the local Burmese and also how they lived in a different culture and never really appreciated that culture, no matter how long they had lived there.
Feb 24, 2014 Elaine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Upgrading this to a 5. Again, I should have reviewed it when I read it, but there was no Internet connection worth the candle in Myanmar (Burma). It's sardonic Orwell through and through - there's an extent to which he always tells the same story - but the book balances humor and tragedy remarkably. And the atmosphere is perfect. A brilliant savage look at the last days of colonialism.
Feb 13, 2013 H rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
I tend to hold back a bit when it comes to reviewing books chalked up as ‘classics’ since behind every classic book is a classic author with an inevitable legion of fans convinced every word they penned was solid gold. When it comes to George Orwell, my brother is one of these people and was therefore delighted to lend me his copy of Burmese Days, assuring me how good it is. I’ve read a touch of Orwell before - his most famous works, 1984 and Animal Farm - and been impressed with the ideas but g ...more
I'm a big Orwell fan, largely because he had one of the world's great bullshit filters. He stuck by his socialist guns, something conveniently ignored by the army of libertarian retards who use 1984 to prop up their juvenile worldview.

And he produced a terrifyingly accurate account of life as an outsider in Southeast Asia. Translate Burma in the '20s to Thailand in the '00s:

1) Hopelessly corrupt local officials
2) Lazy, alcoholic white people who do nothing but grouse about the natives, except fo
Aaron Million
Jul 16, 2015 Aaron Million rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Sad to say this was my first time reading Orwell. It will not be the last time. I loved this fast-paced story of an almost-middle-aged man living in 1926 India and trying to snap out of his longtime lethargy of just existing rather than living. It is not really a love story, although there is that component to it. I think Orwell is too cynical to allow it to be a love story. It reads more like... well, real life! Things do not work out for Flory. At all. Yet he is his own worst enemy and, while ...more
Jan 22, 2015 Emily rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
What a depressing book. Being an Englishman enforcing British rule in Burma is a dreary, painful, soul-crushing existence. Our 'hero', Mr. Flory is quite dismayed with his lot in life, finding his only pleasure in his chats with an educated Burman named Dr. Veraswami. Unfortunately, a local conniving pulchritudinous evil power-grubbing type, U Po Kyin has it out for Veraswami, and Flory along with him. Flory's lot in life seems to be looking up when young Elizabeth comes to stay with her aunt an ...more
Connor Davidson
Nov 07, 2009 Connor Davidson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
In Burmese Days, George Orwell comments on society and imperialism. The story is based around U Po Kyin, a magistrate, and Dr Veraswami. Each wants an affiliation to the European club. Their dispute ends up drafting a British timber merchant, John Florey and something happens. But I’m not going to tell you what: I am attempting to make this, and all, of my book reviews as spoiler free as possible.

When I read this book I found that the first 15 chapters were good. From 15-23 they got really good
Brian Robbins
Began the only Orwell novel I hadn't read with an in-built if slight resistance, I too rarely read novels set outside the British Isles. Like all his novels it had some excellent points.

He is excellent at portraying a realistic inner-life going on within his characters. The self-doubts, the sudden changes of emotions triggered often by trivial events and concerns, the mixed motives, the rarity and fleeting quality of heroic actions.

His parody of the situation and motivations of those living wit
Apr 28, 2012 Ali rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is a long time since I read any George Orwell I read four of his novels once, probably 20 - 25 years ago – and was really looking forward to reading this – his first novel. Some years ago I read a non-fiction book Secret Histories: Finding George Orwell in a Burmese teashop by Emma Larkin – who wrote the introduction for this edition. In that book (from what I can remember) Emma Larkin explored the way in which the five years George Orwell spent in Burma – where he is viewed as “the prophet” ...more
Sep 24, 2013 Shaun rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
While not as popular as his classics Animal Farm and 1984, Burmese Days is just as complex, just as politically motivated, and just as fulfilling. Orwell's ability to deliver a biting social commentary is supreme, and boy can he write with the best of them.

Take this passage for example:

She heard finality in his tone, and uttered a harsh, ugly cry. She bent forward again in a shiko, beating her forehead against the floor. It was dreadful. And what was more dreadful than all, what hurt in his bre
Lorenzo Berardi
At an early stage of his life George Orwell might have had serious problems in relating with women. It was probably a matter of not sharing the same interests. One can easily picture the twenty something Eric Arthur Blair talking about literature, poetry, politics with the wrong sort of women, assuming they were interested in what he said, but getting a half-bored reluctant feedback. I assume it was not easy finding the cultured literary type of woman the young writer aimed to in the deep Burmes ...more
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Burmese Days Glossary 13 102 Sep 19, 2013 08:30PM  
  • Finding George Orwell in Burma
  • The River of Lost Footsteps: Histories of Burma
  • Golden Earth: Travels in Burma
  • Letters from Burma
  • Under the Dragon: Travels in a Betrayed Land
  • From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odyssey
  • Blind Man with a Pistol (Harlem Cycle, #8)
  • The Valley of Bones (A Dance to the Music of Time, #7)
  • Prepared for the Worst: Selected Essays and Minority Reports
  • Aaron's Rod
  • The Siege of Krishnapur (Empire Trilogy, #2)
  • Chariots of Fire
  • Men at Arms
  • Bunner Sisters
  • South Wind
  • Death of a Hero
  • Far Eastern Tales
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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“To talk, simply to talk! It sounds so little, and how much it is! When you have existed to the brink of middle age in bitter loneliness, among people to whom your true opinion on every subject on earth is blasphemy, the need to talk is the greatest of all needs.” 25 likes
“it is a corrupting thing to live one's real life in secret. One should live with the stream of life, not against it.” 16 likes
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