lärm's Reviews > Down and Out in Paris and London

Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell
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Oct 23, 11

Read on October 23, 2011

Real poverty has no great plot or elaborate storyline. There's just the daily struggle for food, shelter and money. Oh, and there's also the attempt to keep some dignity, somehow.
In Paris, poverty is a period inbetween jobs. Shitty jobs, dead end jobs, but sometimes with promotion in sight. if you can pay the rent and somehow keep up appearances you're not worse off than a large part of Parisiens. London however is a different story. Here, poverty is structural and charity prevents you from escaping misery. You get just enough to survive but malnutrition will always be there and you'll spend your days traveling from one homeless shelter to another. No matter how little you have, you will still get ripped off and sometimes tea and bread comes with religion and sermons.
'Down and out' is a series of anecdotes and observations, sometimes grim, sometimes hilarious. Life in the restauranst and hotels of Paris reminds me of the adventures Joseph Porta (Sven Hassel), and makes a good read the rest of the misery is a bit harder to swallow. You won't finish this book with a good feeling, but at least now you know that a French restaurant is only recommendable if it actually has french customers. As long as it's only filled with tourists, try to avoid it like the plague.
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