Coming Up For Air

Coming Up For Air

by George Orwell


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Coming Up For Air
By George Orwell

George Bowling, the hero of this comic novel, is a middle-aged insurance salesman who lives in an average English suburban row house with a wife and two children. One day, after winning some money from a bet, he goes back to the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. The pool, alas, is gone, the village has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of his holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781722987978
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 07/14/2018
Pages: 456
Product dimensions: 8.50(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.92(d)

About the Author

George Orwell (1903¿1950) was an English novelist, essayist, journalist, and critic. Best known for his dystopian book 1984 and the allegorical novella Animal Farm, Orwell is the author of six novels as well as numerous essays and works of nonfiction. His writing continues to influence popular culture: The term "Orwellian" (describing a repressive, totalitarian state) has entered the language, along with several of his own neologisms, such as "Big Brother" and "cold war."

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Coming Up for Air 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
TiBookChatter More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure why I enjoy Orwell's writing so much. It may be his pessimistic take on what we call civilization, or it could be that I am a bit of a realist. I see things as they imagined glory here. The same can be said for this book. Coming Up for Air is a novel about George Bowling. He's a married, middle-aged man who after winning a horse race, decides to visit his hometown to re-live the years of his youth. There's a bit of a problem though. George is married to Hilda and lives the typical suburban lifestyle that includes a house and two kids. George doesn't seem to want to remember this though. The day-to-day that George shares with us is anything but dreadful, but the normalcy, the lack of excitement is a constant thorn in his side. With war looming in the distance, he reminisces on how life was, and how it could be. "There's time for everything except the things worth doing. Think of something you really care about. Then add hour to hour and calculate the fraction of your life that you've actually spent in doing it. And then calculate the time you've spent on things like shaving, riding to and fro on buses, waiting in railway junctions, swapping dirty stories and reading the newspapers."[Page 93] But Lower Binfield is not what it used to be. As you can imagine, progress can be a wicked thing to behold and George's quaint hometown is not so little anymore and even the things that haven't changed, seem to be different twenty years later. "It's a queer experience to go over a bit of country that you haven't seen in twenty years. You remember it in great detail, and you remember it all wrong."[Page 209] To add insult to injury, the people are not the same either as evidenced by this account where he happens to run into an old flame. "Only twenty-four years, and the girl I'd known, with her milky-white skin and red mouth and kind of dull-gold hair, had turned into this great, round-shouldered hag, shambling along on twisted heels."[Page 243] What's wonderful about this book is that everyone can relate to it. Things change. We change. There is a "George" in all of us and Orwell's wry, sarcastic take on progress is at times very funny. This isn't an account of a man falling apart. There is no mid-life crises per se, but what we view through George's eyes is a quiet realization that one cannot recapture their youth and that time marches on whether or not we accept it. If you enjoy "day in the life" type stories you will enjoy this one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Set in the days immediately before the outbreak of WWII, the protagonist observes the slow disintegration and homoginization of society while going through a mid-life crisis. Great observations of creeping international dehumanization in the very early stages of WWII. It's evident that the genesis for Animal Farm and 1984 came as he was writing this book.
HistReader on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have little toleration for pessimistic people. In real life, I avoid cynics and their defeatist attitudes; likewise, in literature, I tend not to read too much of it either. Yet, there is something fascinating about George Orwell that I keep coming back to and make accommodation for.On so many levels, he plays into my nostalgia. No, I was not a child of the '80s,'90s and turn of the century... one-hundred-years after George Bowling grew up. I was probably of the last generation to race down to corner store only to spend unnecessary minutes anguishing over the selection of penny candies. George Orwell fictionalizes a true life phenomenon; he taps into a universality that struck close to home, even a century later. Boys never change. I was much like a young George Bowling. I fished as a child; somehow, the activity slowly became less a part of my life. I biked everywhere, climbing the social ladder based on the model of bike; the number of speeds determined one's independence. I too worked in a grocery as a teenager, and once thought it possible to labor amongst the aisles and goods, seeing the middle-aged men and women who had made retail their career.Orwell writes with all five senses in mind. For a young Bowling, there were enough similarities to my youth, there seemed no difference. As I began this review, cynicism has little appreciation for me, yet I for some reason give Geogre Orwell a pass. Perhaps it is my affection for his book 1984 and a nostalgia for Animal Farm? Per chance, he triggers my memories of the punk band The Subhumans. Like so much of British sensibilities, both the band and author share an overt vein that one's life is determined by those in command, and little choices provide a sense of control over one's destiny. Streams of 1984 were evident in Coming Up for Air, almost like a precursor to a dystopian society was just around the corner. Hitler would have been the catalyst for Big Brother to campaign on safety and slowly develop a system of Ministries.Overall, it is hard to imagine this book was not in some way - possibly a profound one - an autobiography, a memoir of sorts.
fourbears on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
George Bowling, in his mid forties and a WWI vet looking at the approach of a new war in the late Thirties reminisces about his life and times. An ordinary guy, not very educated, a commercial traveler with a wife in a slightly higher social cast. He starts out telling the reader about his new false teeth and ends of telling the story of his life. He¿s not a terribly interesting guy, but he¿s honest and not too hung up on himself. And the everyday detail of someone born at the turn of the twentieth century is great. Historians should read it too
brianc6 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Set against the backdrop of the inevitable approach of war (WW2) in Europe and the political turmoil running rampant through England at the time, this is the very small story of a very small man who has lost himself and his attempt to recover something of his life by searching out a favourite childhood haunt. Moving and real, one of my all time favourites.
tzelman on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Nostalgic account of a trip to a non-exstant past; Fatty Bowling as a pessimistic insurance salesman
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