Sunday, 20 September 2009
Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Title: Keep the Aspidistra Flying
Author: George Orwell
Number of pages: 277
Started: 16 September 2009
Finished: 20 September 2009
The clock struck half past two. In the little office at the back of Mr McKechnie's bookshop, Gordon--Gordon Comstock, last member of the Comstock family, aged twenty-nine and rather moth-eaten already--lounged across the table, pushing a four-penny packet of Player's Weights open and shut with his thumb.
The ding-dong of another, remoter clock--from the Prince of Wales, the other side of the street--rippled the stagnant air. Gordon made an effort, sat upright, and stowed his packet of cigarettes away in his inside pocket. He was perishing for a smoke. However, there were only four cigarettes left. Today was Wednesday and he had no money coming to him till Friday. It would be too bloody to be without tobacco tonight as well as all tomorrow.
Read the whole book here.
Gordon Comstock loathes dull, middle-class respectability and worship of money. He gives up a 'good job' in advertising to work part-time in a bookshop, giving him more time to write. But he slides instead into a self-induced poverty that destroys his creativity and his spirit. Only Rosemary, ever-faithful Rosemary, has the strength to challenge his commitment to his chosen way of life. Through the character of Gordon Comstock, Orwell reveals his own disaffection with the society he once himself renounced.
What I thought:
I quite liked this book. It wasn’t the most fast paced read, but it had some interesting moments. It seemed to have quite a lot of its origins in the book “The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist” – and in fact the title is drawn from an image in that book – but is rather less lengthy, although not necessarily that much more cheery. I thought it was an insight into the role of money and it could make you question how much of our lives are ruled by it, even though we might like to think that it is not. This is certainly not one of my most favourite Orwell books, but it was readable nonetheless.