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Keep the Aspidistra Flying

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  11,262 Ratings  ·  746 Reviews
A novel by the author of 1984 about a man determined to reject middle-class values who finds living in noble poverty more difficult than expected.
 
Gordon Comstock despises the materialism and shallowness of middle-class life—the worship of money, the striving for dull, stuffy respectability. To live up to his ideals, he quits his lucrative position as an advertising copy
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ebook, 112 pages
Published March 19th 1969 by Mariner Books (first published April 20th 1936)
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Peter "Vicisti" is from the Latin word meaning "to conquer". In the vernacular, Comstock is saying something like "You win, aspidistra!" and admitting that…more"Vicisti" is from the Latin word meaning "to conquer". In the vernacular, Comstock is saying something like "You win, aspidistra!" and admitting that he's beaten.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Petra Eggs
Jul 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, reviewed
Essentially this is every art student's dilemma, or at least it was back in my day, to sell out and deal with the Man or be true to our art and starve in an attic. Whether to find one's place within the system or try to forge a unique life outside of it. One thing we had in common was pot plants. An aspidistra in Orwell's case, another kind of pot plant for me.

As the story works itself out Gordon discovers two more things, things we had in common - we were really rather average poets and artists
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Patricia
Dear George Orwell,

It's not you, it's me. It had to happen, really, this bit of faultering in the crush I've had on you. Sure, I've known you for years, but as you know, I've been completely smitten with you since last summer when I read your first published novel, Down and Out in Paris and London. I grew more smitten while reading An Age Like This, 1920- 1940, your early correspondance, reviews, and essays, and I remained so while reading your 2nd published novel, Burmese Days. But now the new
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MJ Nicholls
The reader’s response to Gordon Comstock’s behaviour will depend upon whether the reader has ever tried to live a “self-sufficient” life free from bourgeois respectability, or seriously pursued an artistic vocation with stubborn single-mindedness. Orwell’s novel is pretty one-track plot-wise—what happens when a person renounces money and its interminable grip?—but Comstock’s obsessive pursuit is a societal conundrum of universal proportions and makes for a frustrating and bone-deep trip to the d ...more
Annelies
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is more important in life: to hold on your principles and by this lead a dreadful life, or to leave your principles, and by that get a richer life? Actually this is the basic question in this book. To know what Gordon choses, You should read the book. It's worth it.
Barry Pierce
I buddy read this book with my bestie, Ariel Bissett. We spent more time on Voxer than actually reading this novel most nights but in our defense we spent most of that time gushing about Orwell.

I think this is my favorite Orwell. I knew that from the very first chapter and oh what a chapter that is. I think it may be one of the best opening chapters to a novel that I've ever read, in fact, it's one of the best chapters that I've ever read.

This novel tells us the story of Gordon Comstock, a man
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Ariel
Jun 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
Oh, Orwell, thank you.

It's no secret that Animal Farm is one of my favourite books. Not only because it is a genius piece of the literary canon, but also because it the book that helped me crash down the wall between seeing classics as enemy and seeing their immense merit. It's been a long while since I read Animal Farm, (it was back in 2011), and while I enjoyed 1984 and some of Orwell's essays, I admit to not knowing if he'd be able to blow me away as strongly as he did with Animal Farm.

I sta
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Edward
Oct 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Note on the Text

--Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Renée Paule
Jun 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"The mistake you make, don't you see, is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself. After all, what do you achieve by refusing to make money? You're trying to behave as though one could stand right outside our economic system. But one can't. One's got to change the system, or one changes nothing."

I thoroughly enjoyed this little book. If you like Orwell you will love Keep the Aspidistra Flying.
Mark
Oct 11, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you have seen the updates you may already realize that I was not overly-keen on Gordon Comstock. Nevertheless the liking or disliking of the hero or heroine of a novel evidently does not in itself negate the quality of the writing and it is certainly true that this novel is a really powerful description of the blanching effect of poverty on the colour of life, of the crippling struggle that the poor underwent between the wars and the pitiful descriptions of scrimping and saving and the sinkin ...more
Sarah (Presto agitato)
Feb 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: orwell
Girl problems, money problems, houseplant problems. Things are not going Gordon’s way. Money has become Gordon Comstock’s all-consuming idée fixe (followed closely by aspidistras). Gordon, who comes from “one of those depressing families, so common among the middle-middle classes, in which nothing ever happens,” refuses to be a slave to the “money-god.” He gives up a relatively well paying but soulless job at an advertising agency, a job that furthers the evils of the capitalism that he deplores ...more
Rowena
Feb 14, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Probably no one
Wow, what a tiresome book! The reason I even gave it three stars is because it's an Orwell book and, as such, he doesn't disappoint us with his wit, satire and irony. However, the story itself was lacking.Orwell must have been in a very misanthropic mood when he wrote this.

The main character, Gordon, is so depressing and unlikeable; he ties everything to money (for example, it took him an hour to shave one morning because he didn't have enough money). I just got so sick and tired of hearing abo
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Chris_P
Our civilization is founded on greed and fear, but in the lives of common men the greed and fear are mysteriously transmuted into something nobler.

This is the story of a thirty-year-old man with issues. That's as simple a description as it gets. Simple is no good in this case though. Indeed, Orwell delivers a complex novel not so much in a literary sense, as in a psychological one. Gordon is an anti-hero whose issues revolve around money. Money is the key word here. If I had to describe him with
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Mahdi Lotfi
کتاب درخت زندگی به پستی و بلندی های زندگی انسان می پردازد. جرج اورول از نویسندگان مشهور انگلیسی است و این کتاب از جمله چندین کتاب وی است که در سال های 1948 برای اولین بار به چاپ رسید.
Kim
Dec 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook

According to Gordon Bowker, this is one of the novels Orwell wanted his literary executor to suppress after his death. That’s a clear indication of how Orwell felt about the novel and it’s fair to say that it’s not his strongest work. However, it still has a lot going for it, in particular black humour, sharp satire and a window into Orwell’s own life.

Having recently read Bowker’s biography of Orwell, I particularly appreciated the autobiographical elements of the novel, which otherwise would h
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Tosh
Aug 01, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well first of all, Orwell is a fantastic prose writer. He can really make your feet feel tired by his descriptions of walking long distance in London, and the way he describes food, drinking, and the loose change in your pocket is right on the mark. What made me tired is the main character's total obsession about money. Not having money, the making of money, etc. I hated that and that is one of the main themes of this book. But then again I wanted to shoot the main character in the head and get ...more
Christy
Feb 23, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have not sympathized with a protagonist quite so much in a good while.

Gordon Comstock is turning thirty, has no money, works in a bookshop, is a failing poet, and refuses to take a "good" job because of his socialist ideals and his war against the money-god, and it's chief symbol: the aspidistra that sits in the window of every British middle-class home. Kind of like a less talk-the-talk Frank Wheeler.

The hideous grimness of Gordon's soul-destroying poverty, the way he sinks into inevitable d
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Arwen56
Questo romanzo di Orwell è non dico meno conosciuto, ma forse meno letto e apprezzato rispetto agli altri suoi più acclamati. E’ anche, probabilmente, un po’ più “grezzo” e meno rifinito, essendo tra i primi che scritto. Anzi, se non mi sbaglio, è proprio il primo. Però, fondamentalmente, racconta, come gli altri, una sconfitta, un progressivo cedere, un graduale abbandonare e abbandonarsi che disgrega il sé e porta a confondersi con l’omologato, con il comune sentire e, a un certo punto, a unif ...more
Martine
Feb 16, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: budding writers and closet socialists
I haven't yet read Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London, a supposedly excellent autobiographical account of a middle-class man's descent into abject poverty, but I would imagine that some of the experiences Orwell describes in that book must have served him equally well in writing Keep the Aspidistra Flying, which must rank among the bleakest novels about self-induced poverty ever written in the English language.

Keep the Aspidistra Flying centres on Gordon Comstock, a talented twenty-nine-
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Lex Javier
Dec 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics
Finishing the book within a day, I have a feeling that I just experienced something profoundly beautiful. Keep the Aspidistra Flying is the story of a very likable anti-hero and a very outstanding heroine. That story between the two characters is almost too sacred to give out in a book review. You have to read it yourself.

Yet there is still something to talk about: the author's message. You can't read and put down Orwell's novels without rearranging a few of your beliefs.

Only Orwell can speechif
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Tiziana
Jun 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Objectively speaking, I am not sure that this is really a five-star book. But it certainly has affected me like one, hence my 'grade'. I have read it compulsively because despite being for many aspects so far away in time and setting (the book solidly mirrors and describes the social context of the Thirties in England), to me it felt so 'true', that it was almost too real.
The thing is that the book deals with things that have started to trouble me personally now that I am settling in, that I hav
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Tfitoby
Jan 14, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit
Gordon Comstock is a truly insufferable bore to spend time with and this book whilst not a chore to read was pretty tame and predictable in nature. Comstock's arc from anti-capitalist to middle class conformist is essentially the same argument some douchey dudebro might make about lesbians - all they need is some good dick (see Chasing Amy for a popular example of said attitude explored by somebody half sensitive to the idea that it is the moron character who spouts it) and in this examle yes, O ...more
Cemre
Okuduğum diğer George Orwell romanlarıyla karşılaştıracak olursam sanırım en az bu romanından zevk aldım. Kitabın ilk yarısı fazla durağandı bana göre. Bunun dışında asıl olarak kitabın ana kahramanı Gordon'ı sevemedim. Parayı sevmiyor, paradan nefret ediyor ya da bence ettiğini zannediyor. Eğer çok parası olsa paraya karşı tutumu aynı mı olurdu diye sorgulayıp durdum kitap boyunca. Eline bir miktar para geçince kınadığı, kızdığı davranışların, aktivitelerin gidip aynısını yapması paradan ziyade ...more
Dimitra Mavraki
Oct 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ένα καταπληκτικό βιβλίο που όλοι πρέπει να διαβάσουν!!!Πιο επίκαιρο απο ποτέ, γεμάτο κοινωνικούς προβληματισμούς που μας αφορούν όλους!
Mi
Mar 30, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition


Aspidistras – they seem to be mentioned in all of George Orwell’s novels – as far as I have read them anyway.

Gordon is a poet – although, most of his works have not been published and the ones that have seen the light of day simply fell flat. The book opens with a gloomy atmosphere and a rather unlikeable description of our main character. We then follow our unlikeable main character through his routine at work and his evening at home where he complains about money, customers, authors, poetry, b
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Ian Wood
Sep 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone
Faith, hope and criticism.

My favourite novel of all time chronicles Gordon Comstock’s war against money and British society. That Gordon chose to live outside the system and stay true to his art tempers the optimism of most follow your dreams type aspirational story with Gordon sinking further and further into poverty much to the shame of his family. It was always my intention to buy an aspidistra and display it in the bay window on getting married in homage to this book. As it happened my wife
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Capsguy
Sep 10, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-irish
Three stars for me is pretty low, and it`s disappointing that I am giving it to an author like Orwell. Generally I love his works, they are so diverse, and yet always serious even in their more comical aspects.

One thing that has been done to death for me, is the struggling artist/author. I have read so many books with this as the main premise that I no longer care, I just do not. Perhaps if this wasn`t regurgitated so much and my exposure to it was minimal, then perhaps I could have dove deeper
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Matt

I really loved this book.

You know how when the writer decides to put you through a fairly unsympathetic character and you find that he shares some of your own traits and such....only to be kind of depressed and oddly fascinated by the experience?

This is one of the unknown Orwell books, and for that reason it should be read by everyone who's gotten into the bigger hits and really gotten into them.

The whole point is that it's not being 'artistic' to decide to mope around and hate everything. It's
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, George Orwell
عنوان: همه جا پای پول در میان است؛ نویسنده: جورج اورول؛ مترجم: رضا فاطمی؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، انتشارات مجید، 1391، در 304، شابک: 9789644530401؛
نخستین بار با عنوان: درخت زندگی؛ با ترجمه منصور اقتداری توسط انتشارات کاوش در سال 1363 و در 322 ص منتشر شد، همچنین نشر کوشش در همان سال همین کتاب را با عنوان «تسلیم» با ترجمه همایون حنیفه وند مقدم در 240 ص منتشر کرده است
Jan-Maat
A novel of London life and the search for integrity in the 1930s. Features the shabbier side of life to the extent that the one brief excursion that the hero and his girlfriend make out of London feels like the explosive escape from a crushing environment.
Liz
May 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: have-2-get, 5-stars
This is why I would dig Orwell up and have him at a dinner party if I could. The man just knows how to write and not just write randomness for the sake of writing or selling a book. He just gets right down to the fundamentals of human existence (mainly suffering). This is one of his few books that actually ends on a high note....if conforming the the norm of society is a high note.

I have to admit that by the middle of the book, I did want to punch Gordon in his testicles for being a douche to ev
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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
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More about George Orwell...

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“The mistake you make, don't you see,is in thinking one can live in a corrupt society without being corrupt oneself. After all, what do you achieve by refusing to make money? You're trying to behave as though one could stand right outside our economic system. But one can't. One's got to change the system, or one changes nothing. One can't put things right in a hole-and-corner way, if you take my meaning.” 63 likes
“This life we live nowadays. It's not life, it's stagnation death-in-life. Look at all these bloody houses and the meaningless people inside them. Sometimes I think we're all corpses. Just rotting upright.” 49 likes
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