Book Review: Down and Out in Paris & London

Orwell's memoir of his time in Paris and London
Orwell’s memoir of his time in Paris and London

What’s not to love about George Orwell’s Down & Out in Paris and London. Yes, it’s written by George Orwell, I know, how can it go any wrong. And pay attention to the tittle: It says  down and out- three words enough to say that it book have enough things to remember it by. And then it says Paris and London- just like Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities.

It is a memoir by Orwell during his times in Paris and London that he mostly lived in abject poverty. After his sting with British East India company in Burma, he returned to Europe to become a writer. But like all master plans, it ddn’t get the right start. We all know how it ended for him, but the journey is not pleasant at all.

After his fringe experiences with journalism, he ended up in Paris. He does not go in to details of his expedition in between, but this book mostly covers his last 10 weeks in Paris where he worked in restaurants in the most bottom end of the hierarchy. In his narration, when it is expressing his hardship and non-existing lifestyle, he made sure that he entertains with his humor and presence of mind. His observant mind allows us to go through the brains of various immigrants in Paris of that era, and chuckle on the drunken conversations and confessions. I loved the part when he explains the point of view of restaurant staffs and how waiters will never make a good communists.

The second half of the book is sort of travelogue, but with the perspective of the tramp. London must be one of the worst city in the world to be without any money. With his curiosity, Orwell made friends with group of tramps and narrated their unexplored. He introduced amazing characters like Irishman Paddy and street artist who goes by the name of Bozo. Paddy who is infamous for his ignorance while Bozo who was formerly astronomer who has resigned to the lifestyle of a tramp.

To be honest, what Orwell went through those years in Paris and London cannot make anyone jealous but even during those days of smoking from rejected cigarette’s butts and pawning all the possible possession, he made sure that we are left with a good tale to read. I rated Down and Out in Paris and London by George Orwell 4 out of 5 stars in goodreads. This book is available in Penguin’s modern classic paperback, which is glorious in its own league.

5 Comments Add yours

  1. MyBookJacket says:

    Oh wow. That’s amazing. That someone would do that and still ensure we get a good story out of it. I’ll add it to my list now


    1. You must. I think so I should make an edit to this review. Few days back I realized that it was not fully biographical & part of the book was fictional. I was under the impression that it was one of the non-fictions by Orwell…my bad

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MyBookJacket says:

        Oh, didn’t know. That’s even more fun! I’ve added to my list. Will let you know what I think of it.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s