DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON by George Orwell

DOWN AND OUT IN PARIS AND LONDON

Featured vintage review selection (week of September 16, 2013)
Note from Kirkus' Vintage Review Editor:

As Kirkus Reviews celebrates its 80th anniversary, take a look at one of our founder Virginia Kirkus' early reviews, of George Orwell's Down and Out in Paris and London. As the title indicates, the book isn't about chi-chi neighborhoods; Kirkus had to persuade booksellers to get behind the book. "Have a look at the book and catch the strange fascination of the telling," she wrote. Kirkus was an early champion of Orwell's work.



KIRKUS REVIEW

This book falls into two distinct parts, both with an underlying common theme, the revealing of poverty at close range. Not an appealing subject, you will say. But have a look at the book and catch the strange fascination of the telling. First there is Paris, not the Paris of the boulevards or the Bois, nor yet of the Latin Quarter. But Paris of the slums, the Paris of those who live a precarious existence, always on the verge of actual starvation, a hand to mouth existence, from pawn shop to pawn shop. The youth who is telling of his own experiences, and of those around him, eventually lands a job as a dishwasher behind the scenes of a smart hotel restaurant. Vivid and lurid and unappetizing, are the pictures he gives of what goes on behind the scenes, human and otherwise. The second part of the book brings him to England, and the story recalls Josiah Flint's TRAMPING WITH TRAMPS, that expose of our own hobodom. Here is the English side of the picture today, exaggerated by the unemployment situation and the aftermath of war. It is particularly timely in showing the measures in active use for dealing with the many sorts and conditions of men who have hit the trail today, and who travel in hordes from one encampment to another. One wonders, in reading this book whether there is not here another Thomas Burke in the making.
Pub Date: July 19th, 1933
ISBN: 015626224X
Publisher: Harper
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1933




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