Bill Kerwin's Reviews > Down and Out in Paris and London

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
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Jul 27, 11

Read in July, 2011


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 human beings who live in this repulsive environment. The people he describes may be disgusting, but they are often resourceful too, and Orwell makes it clear that it is the economic system itself--not the character flaws of individuals caught up in the system--that is to blame for so much squalor and suffering. I would recommend this book to any one who wishes to read a vivid description of the conditions of those who live beneath the underbelly of society and the stratagems they habitually use to survive, whether they be recently impoverished men endeavoring to maintain respectability, Paris dishwashers sweating through their underground existence, or British tramps enduring the daily bone-wearying trek for a cheap place to lay their heads.
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Pete Wyeth Well said.


H. P. Reed This book revealed much I was ignorant of about George Orwell when I read it a few years ago. You expressed my own reaction to it more eloquently than I could hope to do.


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