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Down and Out in Paris and London

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  41,959 Ratings  ·  2,776 Reviews
A memoir of the author's time among the desperately poor and destitute in London and Paris. It documents a world of unrelenting drudgery and squalor - sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses, working as a dishwasher in the vile 'Hotel X', living alongside tramps, surviving on scraps and cigarette butts.
Paperback, 213 pages
Published 1961 by Harvest/Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (first published 1933)
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Anna I'm in the process of reading the book. One favourite scene so far is when Boris takes the author to a cobbler to ask for money. Boris and the cobbler…moreI'm in the process of reading the book. One favourite scene so far is when Boris takes the author to a cobbler to ask for money. Boris and the cobbler end up having a huge fight, get drunk and become friends. Boris ends up staying there overnight, and the author is just left all befuddled and out of the loop. (less)
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Sep 29, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do not read this book if you are unemployed.

Do not read this book if you are homeless.

Do not read this book if you are worried about the tanking economy.

Do not read this book if you have no retirement savings.

Do not read this book if you don't like eating stale bread and margarine.

Do not read this book if you like eating in restaurants.

Do not read this book if you are sensitive to foul odors.

Do not read this book if you are one of those people who carries a hand-sanitizer at all times.

Do not rea
Bill  Kerwin
Jul 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

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 hu
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

this book isn't going to cause anyone to have the huge revelation that "poverty is hard!" or anything, because - duh - but it also doesn't piss me off the way morgan spurlock pisses me off, because orwell makes his story come alive and there is so much local color, so many individual life stories in here that this book, despite being horribly depressing, is also full of the resourcefulness of man and the resilience of people that have been left by the wayside. it is triumphant, not manipulative.
Jeffrey Keeten
Sep 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.”

 photo george_orwell_zps86a90dae.jpg

In 1927 Eric Arthur Blair A.K.A. George Orwell gives up his job as a policeman in Burma and moves back to his lodgings on Portobello Road in London with the intention of being a writer. Like with many artists, writers, and those that wished t
Jul 18, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Orwell demonstrates his social conscience and empathy for the poor, which I think, makes his more famous attacks on totalitarianism more credible.

This is also an interesting novel to read for a glimpse into Paris and London of that time, between 1900 and 1930. Orwell worked in some restaurants and his view from the kitchen is far less romantic than Hemingway’s perspective from the table.

Not really a classic or a masterpiece, but a book that should be read.

Jan 15, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Do not read this book while eating! I've been told that this book is semi-autobiographical. If so, George Orwell had an even more interesting life than I'd imagined! This book was disturbing, insightful and also funny (great, great characters, some just plain weird!)

The first half of the book depicts the main character's experiences living in poverty in Paris.Some of the descriptions about the living and working conditions are quite gruesome. All those bugs! Orwell sheds more light on what it mu
Ahmad Sharabiani
Down and Out in Paris and London, George Orwell
Down and Out in Paris and London is the first full-length work by the English author George Orwell, published in 1933. It is a memoir in two parts on the theme of poverty in the two cities. The first part is an account of living in near-destitution in Paris and the experience of casual labour in restaurant kitchens. The second part is a travelogue of life on the road in and around London from the tramp's perspective, with descriptions of the types o
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The film Midnight in Paris begins with some beautiful scenes of Paris: the Louvre, Notre Dame, the Seine, the Sorbonne, the Eiffle Tower, the arc de triomphe. And before long, arrives a parade of artistes from the 1920s milieu - Hemmingway, Bunuel, Dali, etc, - all speaking *SparkNotes*. But in the distant background (very distant) I hear a faint sound of et in arcadia ego and Orwell protests “say, I was there in the 1920s too - I saw all that. And I wrote a damn fine book about it”.

That bo
Grace Tjan
Jun 27, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Orwell fans, anyone interested in the bumming life
Recommended to Grace by: Rauf
What I learned from this book (in no particular order):

1. There is hardly such a thing as a French waiter in Paris: the waiters are all Italian and German. They just pretend to be French to be able to affect that certain hauteur and charge you exorbitant prices for that mediocre Boeuf Bourgignon.

2. Some of them are spies. Waitering is a common profession for a spy to adopt. It is also a popular profession among AWOL ex-soldiers and wannabe snobs.

3. Real scullery maids do “curse like a scullion”
Jason Koivu
This reminded me a bit of Thoreau's Walden in that you don't feel like Orwell had to go through with this. It's self-imposed deprivation. However, while Thoreau went on a camping trip to prove he was a hardy outdoorsman and that anybody could and should do it, Orwell put himself through his ordeal in order to investigate a situation. The same problem exists in both circumstances though. Both men could extract themselves at any time if they wished. In Orwell's situation, that means he was only ex ...more
I've loved everything I've ever read by Orwell, including this book which is very autobiographical "fiction", written in the first person. The temporal setting of the "novel" is sometime in the 1920s I think. This is actually not a bad book to sample Orwell with, of course nowhere near as famous as Animal Farm or 1984, but it reads much like a memoir (a very interesting one) and hence can be experienced as a sample of Orwell's writing style and views on society, without those things being masked ...more
Apr 26, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
George Orwell is a damn good writer. Sure, he whipped out 1984 and Animal Farm, but it's from his essays and nonfiction that I'm learning Orwellian tricks--and by that I mean, the very best sort of craft points.

Yes, I know that his first book, Down and Out in Paris and London (1933) is characterized as a novel--usually with some qualifier like "semi-autobiographical" or "thinly-veiled." But given that Orwell saves several chapters for his personal commentary about, among others, the life of a Pa
Poverty is no a sin. Honest work is nothing to be ashamed of . Obviously.
Let’s agree to disagree - Orwell seems to say.
In this part-autobiographical story he depicts how life looked like in Parisian slums and London poorhouses in late twenties XX century. In Paris Orwell used to live in rented rooms,dirty and buggy hovels,for over one year.He had earned some money giving English lessons and writing to the local newspapers but when the money had run out he needed to find a work.Then he first exp
Alice Poon
Jul 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Five stars from me. I would use three words to describe this book: “somber, side-splitting, shrewd”. “Somber” refers to the subject matter, which is about abject poverty and hunger in urban cities, as seen through Orwell’s eyes in Paris and London on his experimental tour. “Side-splitting” is my reaction to the ironic and dry humor that he effortlessly displays in describing some episodes. “Shrewd” refers to his observation of the lives of those barely surviving in society’s lowest echelons, oft ...more
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
George Orwell described ‘Down and Out in Paris and London’ as a “fairly trivial story” with the hope that it is interesting “in the same way as a travel diary is interesting”. What Orwell provides us with is certainly much more than the “trivial story” to which he refers. What we have is a very descriptive, readable and engaging (whilst depressing and at times repulsive) account of his time as a ‘Plongeur’ (employed to carry our menial kitchen work) in Paris coupled with a similarly compelling a ...more
David Sarkies
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sociology
Life Below the Poverty Line
8 September 2016 - London

There is so much in this book and it is actually really hard to know where to start, however I will start off by saying that it is not strictly an autobiography. Sure, Orwell did land up in a situation in Paris when all of his money had been stolen and had to work as a plounger, which is basically another name for a minimum wage kitchen hand (if the minimum wage actually existed back then), and he did live for a time on the streets of London a
Laala Alghata
Aug 14, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The mass of the rich and the poor are differentiated by their incomes and nothing else, and the average millionaire is only the average dishwasher dressed in a new suit.” — George Orwell, Down and Out in Paris and London

I am a staunch George Orwell fan. I think he’s absolutely amazing and if you’re limiting yourself to his classic novels (Animal Farm, 1984), you are doing yourself a disservice. His essays and non-fiction books are amongst his best works.

Down and Out is Orwell’s account of the
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

آآه جورج أورويل سيجعلني أفكر مائة مرة قبل تناول الطعام في أي مطعم أو فندق بعد قراءتي لهذا الكتاب ^_^
فعلي الرغم من ظروف العصر المختلفة
إلا أن الكاتب قدم صورة واقعية - للاسف - عما يحدث في عالم البؤس والفقر
والشقاء الذي مر به البطل في رحلته من باريس إلي لندن

فالبطل متشرد بين شوارع باريس وأزقة لندن ،
وأنت تقرأ معه وتتشرد معه !
فجورج أورويل بارع في أن يأخذك من مقعدك أو من سريرك الدافئ ويضعك مع البطل في ملجأ واحد ، فانت تسافر معه وتجوع معه وتجلس علي الرصيف في البرد معه ! كل هذا وانت صابر لأنه هو أيضاً ص
The unknown and unsuccessful Eric Blair chose to publish this book under a pseudonym because he didn’t want anyone to be able to identify the real people mentioned in the book. He could always change back to his own name, he considered, if the book was well received, but as we know, he kept the name George Orwell, though in fact Down and Out in Paris and London was his first real, if minor, success.

The fact that the book was marketed as a novel was, according to the foreword in my edition, done
Jan 24, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ياإلهي أي نوعية من البشر تسطيع أن تكتب عن البؤس بهذه الخفة ؟ رأسي كان يركض في كل الإتجاهات دماغي تحول إلى فرن .

حسنًا لم أفكر بهذه الرواية أبدًا , ولم تكن في هاجسي .
حينما كتب فيصل الرويس " أعرف واحد:أول رواية نصح زوجته بقرأتها كانت "متشرداً في باريس ولندن" لجورج أورويل . وبعد تسع سنوات مازال يشعر بالندم على ذلك. :) "
لم أطق أن أنتظر أكثر لأعرف مالذي يدفع رجلًا بأن يندم تسع سنوات لأنه فقط نصح زوجته برواية ؟

لك أن تهديه لصاحبك الذي ضجرت منه لأنه لايكف عن المفاخرة في المطاعم الفاخرة التي يقصدها . ولي
Apr 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved Orwell’s writing style and how couldn’t you? This book is a reflection of the lives of the poor in both Paris and in London. The first half is set in Paris and, inter alia, it describes life in the kitchens of some of the busiest hotels in Paris and specifically what the role of the plongeur is (basically a dogsbody who does all the worst jobs you can imagine in a restaurant kitchen in a prestigious hotel). In places this came across hugely Zola-esque in that it reminded me of some of th ...more
"Şimdi bana öyle geliyor ki, yoksulluğun kıyısından köşesinden görülenden daha fazla bir şey görebilmiş değilim.

Yine de meteliksiz kalmanın bana kesinlikle öğrettiği bir iki şeyi gösterebilirim. Bir daha hiçbir zaman berduşların sarhoş birer ahlâksız olduğunu düşünmeyeceğim, bir peni verdim diye bir dilencinin bana minnet duymasını beklemeyeceğim, işsizler uyuşuksa buna şaşmayacağım, Selamet Ordusu'na para vermeyeceğim, giysilerimi rehine koymayacağım, sokakta birisinin uzattığı el ilanını geri
Mahdi Lotfi
جرج اورول در این کتاب شرح سال های در به دری و فقر خود در پاریس و لندن را ارائه می نماید . در این سالها او در اوج فقر به سر می برده ، مدتی ظرف شو بوده ، گاهی خدمتکار ، گاهی ولگرد و ..... شرحی است بر نحوه زندگی و گذران عمر ولگردها از زبان کسی که این نوع از امرار معاش را کاملا درک نموده است .

قسمت هایی از کتاب
- فقر آنها را از رعایت اصول طبیعی رفتار آزاد ساخته است ، همان طور که پول انسان را از کار کردن بی نیاز می کند .
- خیلی زود متوجه شدم که تردید داشتن و رو راست بودن چه قدر احمقانه است .
- هرگز برای
Apr 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle

How many novelists have had their name turned into an adjective? Although there may be more, at the moment I can only think of three: Proust, Dickens and Orwell. The adjective “Orwellian”, of course, refers to the kind of totalitarian state Orwell depicted so brilliantly in 1984. Maybe there should also be an adjective to refer to the kind of poverty Orwell described equally brilliantly in this, his first published novel. In writing it, Orwell drew on his experiences working as a dishwasher in a
Karim Abdel-Khalek‎
“إنه لأمر ٌ ذو غرابة، ارتطامك الأول بالبؤس، لقد فكرت طويلاً بالبؤس -فهو الشيء الذي خشيته طوال حياتك، الشيء الذي تعرف أنه سيحصل لك عاجلاً أو آجلاً، لكن ما فكرت به مختلف كليةً، أنت ظننت أنه سيكون في غاية البساطة، غير معقدٍ جداً. أنت حسبته رهيباً، والحق أنه وسخٌ ومضجرُ فقط. إن ما تكتشفه أولاً هو الضعة الخاصة بالبؤس، الحيل التي يضعك فيها، الشحُ المعقّد ومسحُ الفُتات.”

توقعت أفضل من ذلك، و لكنها لم تكن سيئة، رواية جيدة، فكرة عادية و لكن السرد كان جيد رغم التقريرية في بعض الأجزاء. يسرد "أورويل" العظيم
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

First published in 1933, this was George Orwell’s first full length book which made it into print. Although it reads as though the events within it were concurrent, in fact much of the latter part of the book was published as an essay, titled, “The Spike,” while the author was in Paris. However, the fact that events do not necessarily follow the narrative, certainly does not invalidate the book, or the points that Orwell makes – sadly still very valid today.

The first half of the book sees Orwell
Jul 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Orwell's first published work, giving a slightly fictionalised account of his experiences of poverty in Paris and London.

His time in London is made into an extraordinary and vital social document, preserving and bearing witness to the painful and shocking history of the tramps. I never realised that these men and women were so called because they were forced by the law that prevented them from staying in one place for more than one night to walk from town to town every day, with the reward of a
Apr 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: اقشار مختلف جامه
(پی نوشت بی ربط به کتاب)

از وقتی که عضو این سایت شدم همیشه با این دوراهی مواجه بوده ـم که باید به چه زبانی ریویو بنویسم؛ انگلیسی یا فارسی.خیلی تصمیم سختی بوده و هنوزم هست.نوشتن ریویو به انگلیسی شما را پرت میکنه به دنیایی خیلی بزرگتر و این احساس لذت بخش "عضوی از یک جهان به هم پیوسته بودن" رو به آدم میده، ولی خب متأسفانه ما از کاربرای جدید سایت هستیم و هر ریویویی که می نویسیم زیر خروارها ریویوی قدیمی تر یا محبوب تر مدفون میشه و این احتمال هم هست که هرگز خونده نشن.این ینی شما فقط در حال هدر دادن و
Thomas Strömquist
I found this a very good read for a multitude of reasons, Orwell being a very good writer is not the least of them of course. The narrative of this autobiographical historical exposé is quite matter-of-fact, but never detached, but rather empathetic - which is really genius when it comes to readability and understanding. Told really as a number of interwoven anecdotes, this is a fascinating description of poverty and the poor of Paris and London in the 20's and 30's. It's quite astonishing learn ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Sep 23, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Memoir)
Shelves: 501, memoirs
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Eric Arthur Blair, better known by his pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. His work is marked by keen intelligence and wit, a profound awareness of social injustice, an intense opposition to totalitarianism, a passion for clarity in language, and a belief in democratic socialism.

In addition to his literary career Orwell served as a a police officer with the Indian Imperia
More about George Orwell...
“It is a feeling of relief, almost of pleasure, at knowing yourself at last genuinely down and out. You have talked so often of going to the dogs - and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them, and you can stand it. It takes off a lot of anxiety.” 181 likes
“It is curious how people take it for granted that they have a right to preach at you and pray over you as soon as your income falls below a certain level.” 145 likes
More quotes…