Rick's Reviews > Coming Up for Air

Coming Up for Air by George Orwell
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's review
Apr 09, 08

liked it
bookshelves: history
Read in April, 2008

The story of a middle-aged, middle-class English man set in 1938 or so. It is equal parts premonition of WWII, victorian era nostalgia, and a reflection on attitudes toward the past, war, and the traditional grow-up get-married, settle down and be respectable lifestyle.

I didn't see much symbolism here, unless the main character, with his self-consciously irrational longing for simpler times, fear of upheaval in an uncertain time and lingering scars from WWI is a metaphor for English society in the late 30s.

This is Orwell though and I'm thinking he just wanted to say that the rat race is meaningless and that war is unglamorous and manipulative toward the underclass. It is clear that Orwell believed, through his main character that the war would bring 1984 style oppression either through the victory of Hitler or through the steps England would have to take to defeat him. This definitely foreshadows the writing of 1984.

Not his deepest book, but I really enjoyed the picture of England he painted through the protagonist's reminisces.

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