Mark Hainds's Reviews > Homage to Catalonia

Homage to Catalonia by George Orwell
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Mar 05, 11

Read in February, 2011

On a recent trip to visit relatives Peru, I had the pleasure of meeting a Catalan named Jordan, who married my wife's cousin. They live in Cuzco and while we stayed over at their apartment, we were able to carry on a literary discussion because his English is much better than my Spanish.

Jordan recommended I acquire two books "Homage to Catalonia" by George , and "A Poet in New York" by Federico Garcia Lorca. I am, ever so slowly, working my way through the excellent "Poet in New York." I have a bilingual edition with the original Spanish and a recently completed English translation. I am trying to improve my Spanish by reading it in my wife's first language.

Homage to Catalonia was a much quicker read. It was fascinating. I had not been aware of George Orwell's preference for socialistic/communistic policies, and having read this book, it has opened a window into a world that I had not previously visited.

To me, the Soviet-inspired communists come off the worse for wear, while socialism did not fair so poorly. I still have very little grasp of what a country governed by Anarchists would look like.

The casual brutality of the many factions involved should remind us all how disastrous armed conflict is for the areas and people who experience it. If tea-baggers had functioning brains and consciences, they would not be so hungry for revolution, and there is little doubt that many of our modern right-wing politicians would have quickly lined up behind Franco.

A memorable quote "A fat man eating quails while children are begging for bread is a disgusting sight, but you are less likely to see it when you are within sound of the guns."


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message 1: by Jay (new) - rated it 4 stars

Jay Years ago I spent almost a year in Peru. Would like to go back for anothr visit. If you are reading Lorca, you might also try out Robert Bolano--both his poetry and his novels. And if you haven't read Hemingway's "For Whom the Bell Tolls", it is an interesting work to read after Orwell's "Homage".


Mark Hainds I'll look up Robert Bolano. Thanks for the suggestion.
I loved "For Whom the Bell Tolls", but it's been a decade or two since I last read it and I hope to pick it up again in 2012. Now that I've written a book I read differently, more critically, but also with better appreciation for the really good stuff.


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