Janet's Reviews > Coming Up for Air

Coming Up for Air by George Orwell
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Aug 01, 2011

really liked it

I’ve heard it said that if you want to write a good novel, you should write about the things you know, and this is what Orwell does so well. His books (those that I have read so far) feature aspects of the British class system, whether they be in the form of a farm taken over by the animals, a bleak look at the future or even the true subjects of his non-fiction works.

For this reason, it feels as though one is reading a factual book rather than a work of fiction. I tend to overuse this expression in my reviews, but Orwell’s descriptions in this book really do paint a ‘vivid picture’ of British life before the outbreak of World War Two.

I enjoyed this because I like reading accounts of people’s lives in the 19th and 20th centuries. This book is scattered with references to real events, people, places and novels etc, which helps to add to the non-fiction feel of it.

It’s not a happy novel - there is an air of depression about it. If you want a cheerful tale
which has all the ends tied up nicely then this probably isn’t the book for you.
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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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Nigeyb Great review - that pretty much mirrors my own thoughts too (having just finished it). Thanks.


Janet Thank you. :)

I only have 'Burmese Days' left of Orwell's full-length books to read now. I think my favourite of his fiction is A Clergyman's Daughter.


Nigeyb I think my favourite of his fiction is A Clergyman's Daughter."

I'm going to be reading that one very soon. My anticipation levels have increased since reading your comment. Thanks.


Janet I'm a bit late noticing this but I hope you enjoy(ed) it. :)


Nigeyb Janet wrote: "I'm a bit late noticing this but I hope you enjoy(ed) it. :)"
I thought it was wonderful. Since then I've read 'Keep The Aspidistra Flying' which I thought was less successful, 'The Road To Wigan Pier' which is interesting if a little patchy and repetitive, and now I have just started 'Burmese Days' which has started very promisingly.


message 6: by Janet (last edited Oct 06, 2012 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Janet Burmese Days is the only book (apart from the essays) of Orwells that I've got left to read - it's on my massive 'to read' pile. I hope you enjoy it.

I loved part 1 of The Road to Wigan Pier - but found the 2nd part a little hard-going. :)

Down and Out in Paris and London is very good too.


Nigeyb Thanks Janet. I'm really enjoying Burmese Days having read about half of it. Still to read Down And Out, and I am looking forward to it.


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