Coming Up for Airby George Orwell Published 25 Jan 2001
|Coming Up for Air.pdf|
|Publisher||Penguin Modern Classics|
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George Orwell's paean to the end of an idyllic era in British history, Coming Up for Air is a poignant account of one man's attempt to recapture childhood innocence as war looms on the horizon from the author of Nineteen Eighty-Four, published in Penguin Modern Classics. George Bowling, forty-five, mortgaged, married with children, is an insurance salesman with an expanding waistline, a new set of false teeth - and a desperate desire to escape his dreary life. He fears modern times - since, in 1939, the Second World War is imminent - foreseeing food queues, soldiers, secret police and tyranny. So he decides to escape to the world of his childhood, to the village he remembers as a rural haven of peace and tranquility. But his return journey to Lower Binfield may bring only a more complete disillusionment.
"Coming Up for Air" Reviews
Orwell'in mizah anlayışına ve insanları eleştirme tarzına hayran kalmamak imkansız!
"Hepimizi satın almışlar, hem de kendi paramızla."
“That's the way we're going nowadays. Everything slick and streamlined, everything made out of something else.”
― George Orwell, Coming Up for Air
A novel that explores the pastoral life and experiences of youth in Edwardian England before the First World War as a memory of a man who is anxious about his own existence and pessimistic about his nation's inevitable progress towards another world war.
I think John Wain was right when he said, "What makes _Coming Up For Air_ so peculiarly bitter to the taste is that, in addition to calling up the twin spectres of totalitarianism and workless poverty, it also declares the impossibility of 'retaining one's childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies' - because it postulates a world in which these things are simply not there any more."
This is a pessimistic novel that deals with sevearl paired themes:
- nostalgia for the past vs fear of the future
- memory vs truth
- memento mori vs inevitable change
- the individual/internal vs the universal/external
- liberty vs loss
- poverty vs wealth
As with Orwell's other work, 'Coming Up for Air' has some amazing prose and is definitely worth the effort.
As with Orwell’s other books, I loved his endearing trademark of dry wit and humor in his powerful storytelling. This novel would probably resonate with anyone who has ever experienced an urge for an escapist indulgence. I would have given this book five stars had it not been for the description of wicked little boys killing baby birds for fun.
This is a story about a middle-aged man trying to find an escape from boredom, fear and anxieties about aging, impending disaster and existence in general. In modern day term: mid-life crisis. He lives in England with his family in a working-class suburban home and has a mundane job as an insurance salesman. The timeline is the interim period between the two world wars. He hopes to find a little relief from the daily pressures of living by re-visiting his childhood town in the countryside, of which he retains fond memories. Is he successful? You can probably guess.
[P.S. Above all, this novel is a sobering reminder of the horrors of war.]
I didn’t really know what to expect when I picked up “Coming Up for Air”. I knew it wouldn’t be the scathing allegory that is “Animal Farm” and I knew it wouldn’t be the terrifying dystopia of “1984”. I wasn’t sure what Orwell would do with the story of a middle-aged man who is frustrated with his empty suburban life, as the world moves inexorably towards World War II. I think I had forgotten how beautiful his prose was, and how he had this uncanny inability to capture feelings and thoughts and put them on the page. The depths of nostalgia, regrets and longing the unpleasant and vulgar George Bowling goes through in those 250 pages makes you forget his paunch, his receding hairline and his insufferable wife. Under the skin, we are not that different, no matter what we might think.
George lives in a mediocre little house in one of the London suburbs. His marriage is unhappy, his children are insufferable (unless they are sleeping), his job is a dead-end and he feels like his body is starting to fall apart. In other words, he’s got a major case of mid-life crisis. As he wanders around the City, he begins to dwell on his childhood in a tiny market town, the simple joys of fishing and reading that he never managed to recapture past the age of sixteen, and frets about the fact that very soon, the world will be at war and that all he knows will vanish.
The world changes constantly, as do people. But some events are like a shift in tectonic plates: the change is sudden and abrupt. The Great War changed something fundamental in the English lifestyle and George is just the right age to have watched the old world die and the new one take over. As such, he is disillusioned and feels disconnected from the world in which he lives because it is not the one he grew up in. He feels like an expat in his own country.
At some point, he reflects that his father would have thought of his cheap house as a great luxury, what with the bathroom indoors and everything! Life in the Edwardian and Victorian era was often short, brutal, dirty – and people had a very different benchmark with which to judge whether or not they had a good life. Those standards all went right out of the window when the country towns died and the suburbia began sprawling. Soldiers back from the war did not go back to the family business, they began looking for work in the city and a home not too far from work. And as George sees another war creep up over the horizon, he knows the world is in for another abrupt change, and yearns for a time when things were simple and steady, and fear was not always at the back of his mind. He tries to reconnect with his past, but what he finds is not at all what he remembered...
A bittersweet, sad, funny, gorgeously written novel that made me admire Mr. Orwell even more than I did. In this book, he captures nostalgia and resignation with more finesse and skill than anyone else I have ever read.
Orwell sen ne muhteşem bir yazarsın! Kitabın daha ilk sayfalarında bu cümleyi kurduyor Orwell, en ünlü eserleri 1984 ve Hayvan Çiftliği olsa da (ki onları çok severim), geri planda kalan eserleri de onlar kadar iyiymiş bu kitapla bunu daha iyi anladım. Kitabı okudukça sevdim, sevdikçe okudum.
Belki insan asıl beyni durunca ölüyor, yeni bir düşünceyi idrak etme gücünü yitirince.
Orwell kitabı çok yalın bir dille kaleme almış, süslü cümleler yok ama anlatılan onca düşünce var. Kitapta savaşın insanlar ve ekonomi üzerindeki etkilerini görüyor ve orta sınıfa mensup bir sigortacının ağzından okuyoruz. Kitabın dili öyle güzel ki, hem anlatmak istediğini anlatıyor hem de sizi hiç yormuyor, akıp gidiyor. Kitapta hem sistem eleştirisi, hem hayata bakış, yaşamın evreleri, savaş.. bir çok konu işleniyor ve hepsi de kitaba öyle güzel yerleştirilmiş ki, okuduktan sonra ufkunuzun açıldığını hissediyor ve yazarın değindiği noktalarla ilgili düşünmeye başladığınızı fark ediyorsunuz.
Ben sadece yaşamak istiyorum. Ve şu çuhaçiçeklerine, çitin altındaki kızıl korlara balarken yaşıyordum. İçinizde duyarsınız bunu; huzur verici bir şeydir ama aynı zamanda alev gibidir.
Kısacası, hala Orwell okumadıysanız kaçırmayın derim.
Released in 1939, Coming Up for Air is perhaps the final kiss-of-death to pre-war life in miserable old England, and the first ready-for-war book to soberly embrace the next six agonising years. The protagonist George is a First World War veteran whose life has settled into the predetermined routine of people of his class and age—a travelling insurance position, a nagging harridan of a missus, and two kids too many. After kvetching about his sorry lot in Part One, he recalls his childhood in Part Two, nostalgic for the privations of his working-class boyhood—somehow they’re better than the privations of his lower-middle-class adulthood—and takes a trip to his youth in the later parts, where everything has slowly modernised and the fishing pond has been tarmacked to make way for an asylum. The novel is written in the first-person, making it hard to discern Orwell’s intentions—is he satirising this look-back bore, or sympathising with the lack of free-will in his life? Probably both. A darkly funny if mainly miserable book about the people who lived lives of quiet despair so we could access Goodreads on our iPhones.