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Coming Up for Air

By George Orwell

ISBN: 9781847499004

256 pages

RRP: £7.99

George Bowling, a forty-five-year-old insurance salesman with a wife and two children, is overweight, depressed and haunted by ever-present portents of imminent global conflict. Hoping to escape the staid suburban rut in which he has become embedded, he travels to Lower Binfield, the rural idyll of his childhood, in an effort to recapture his halcyon youth. But once there he discovers that the tranquil haven of his treasured memories has fallen victim to the rapaciousness of “progress”, and is forced to reflect on the folly of nostalgia and the impossibility of reliving the past.

By turns comic and melancholy, Orwell’s fourth novel – published in 1939 to critical and commercial acclaim by Victor Gollancz – is Wellsian in its exploration of the frustrations and helplessness of a lower-middle-class protagonist faced with the indifference of a rapidly changing world, and a vital record of a society on the verge of war.

George Orwell

Eric Blair (1903–50), better known by his pen name George Orwell, was a novelist, journalist and critic, best remembered for his seminal novels 1984 and Animal Farm, and for works of non-fiction such as The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.

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