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Coming Up for Air (Penguin Modern Classics)
 
 

Coming Up for Air (Penguin Modern Classics) [Kindle Edition]

George Orwell
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Years in insurance and marriage to the joyless Hilda have been no more than death in life to George Bowling. This and fear of another war take his mind back to the peace of his childhood in a small country town. But his return journey to Lower Binfield brings complete disillusionment.

About the Author

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there. At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of the Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.

George Orwell died in London in January 1950.


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 378 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0141185694
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (25 Jan 2001)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI8ZM8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #40,804 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

George Orwell is one of England's most famous writers and social commentators. Among his works are the classic political satire Animal Farm and the dystopian nightmare vision Nineteen Eighty-Four. Orwell was also a prolific essayist, and it is for these works that he was perhaps best known during his lifetime. They include Why I Write and Politics and the English Language. His writing is at once insightful, poignant and entertaining, and continues to be read widely all over the world.

Eric Arthur Blair (George Orwell) was born in 1903 in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. The family moved to England in 1907 and in 1917 Orwell entered Eton, where he contributed regularly to the various college magazines. From 1922 to 1927 he served with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, an experience that inspired his first novel, Burmese Days (1934). Several years of poverty followed. He lived in Paris for two years before returning to England, where he worked successively as a private tutor, schoolteacher and bookshop assistant, and contributed reviews and articles to a number of periodicals. Down and Out in Paris and London was published in 1933. In 1936 he was commissioned by Victor Gollancz to visit areas of mass unemployment in Lancashire and Yorkshire, and The Road to Wigan Pier (1937) is a powerful description of the poverty he saw there.

At the end of 1936 Orwell went to Spain to fight for the Republicans and was wounded. Homage to Catalonia is his account of the civil war. He was admitted to a sanatorium in 1938 and from then on was never fully fit. He spent six months in Morocco and there wrote Coming Up for Air. During the Second World War he served in the Home Guard and worked for the BBC Eastern Service from 1941 to 1943. As literary editor of the Tribune he contributed a regular page of political and literary commentary, and he also wrote for the Observer and later for the Manchester Evening News. His unique political allegory, Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame.

It was around this time that Orwell's unique political allegory Animal Farm (1945) was published. The novel is recognised as a classic of modern political satire and is simultaneously an engaging story and convincing allegory. It was this novel, together with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which finally brought him world-wide fame. Nineteen Eighty-Four's ominous depiction of a repressive, totalitarian regime shocked contemporary readers, but ensures that the book remains perhaps the preeminent dystopian novel of modern literature.

Orwell's fiercely moral writing has consistently struck a chord with each passing generation. The intense honesty and insight of his essays and non-fiction made Orwell one of the foremost social commentators of his age. Added to this, his ability to construct elaborately imaginative fictional worlds, which he imbued with this acute sense of morality, has undoubtedly assured his contemporary and future relevance.

George Orwell died in London in January 1950.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Stuff - Definitely worth reading. 10 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback
What always strikes me about Orwell's writing is the amount of meaning he imbues into such apparently simple language. More than anything this book is utterly readable, but while being easy to read you constantly have the feeling that you are learning a lot - and I mean that in a good way. After reading a single chapter about an episode in a character's past, you come out feeling like you have learnt more about that period in history than from all other reading, general knowledge and long-forgotten lessons put together.

Coming Up For Air isn't about telling a story, or even about creating a character (which it does spectacularly well), it's a state-of-the-nation piece that draws you right in - letting you know with exquisite detail and real atmosphere what life was like in home counties England from the turn of the century, through the Great War and it's aftermath, up to the looming inevitability of the horrors of WW2. Seeing life through the eyes George Bowling - a shopkeeper's son turned soldier turned unhappily married insurance salesman living in the outer suburbs - provides a generally original viewpoint on the times. History is very rarely told from the perspective of the lower-middle class, and it makes for an interesting angle.

Something else which struck me is the accuracy of foresight displayed by Orwell when it comes to predictions about the second world war. I had to constantly check the publication date to confirm that it was indeed written in 1939. The way he describes many of the events yet to come is incredibly prescient - more so, maybe, than in 1984, although you can see some of those ideas forming here.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The future is all rotten 22 April 2006
Format:Paperback
Orwell captures the spirit of a generation here. His central character sees salvation in returning to the happy environment of his youth, and with it some escape from a wretched existence. Yet, he finds nothing but change and is disillusioned by the experience. It's a novel that explores the theme of the modern world and a changing society. We often feel that in the present fast-moving world we have a monopoly on complaining about the world of the future. Orwell demonstrate's that unease about changing towns, cities, and nations has existed for as long as people have lived in communities.
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42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Undeservedly neglected - one of Orwell's best 15 July 2001
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I doubt if 1% or the people who've read "1984" or "Animal Farm" have read this novel. This is sad indeed, as it's a fine novel in its own right, not just a book to be read for Orwell completists. The narrator, George Bowling, is an ordinary, pretty decent middle England sort of character, trapped in a lifeless marriage and nostalgic for days gone past. To try to recapture better days, he revisits his home town - but things don't go as planned... The plot of the book is sparse, with much of the text being George's recollections of old times and people, and his observations about British (or should that be English) life in the 1930s. Orwell's powers of observation were never sharper than here, and in the narrator, he created one of his few memorable fictional characters. And there's humour too. It is interesting to compare this novel with some popular books of the late 50s and early 60s such as "Hurry on Down" and "Saturday Night & Sunday Morning". I found myself wondering whether Orwell was the spiritual father of the Angry Young Men.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Orwell at his funniest and most autobiographical 12 Aug 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you only read the apocalyptic misery of 1984 or the gut-wrenching descriptions of extreme squalor in Down and Out in Paris and London and A Clergyman's Daughter, you would probably have little hesitation in describing George Orwell as a cheerless writer. He certainly has an impressive faculty for depicting human suffering in graphic detail but, from the evidence of this book, that is clearly not all that he does.

There is more, much more, to Orwell than gloom. In Coming up for Air we are treated to sunny passages of a happier, funnier Orwell. This book is truly sublime.

The chief protagonist, George Bowling, is a fat, middle-aged bloke who is trapped in a life he loathes with a nagging wife from whom he cannot escape. He longs for the joys of his country childhood when he enjoyed simple pleasures like walking through beautiful English fields and woods and indulged in the thing that gave him more pleasure than any other: fishing. All the while he is worried that everything he holds sacred is about to be destroyed forever by yet another pointless war not long since he has survived active service in World War I.

The powers of description displayed by Orwell in painting vivid pictures of the landscape of Bowling's childhood are truly breathtaking. In these one can see that Orwell is being autobiographical.

Writing in the first person, Orwell brings out emotions in Bowling which all of us are sometimes guilty of possessing. Who can truthfully say that they have never felt like Bowling and wanted to escape the stifling drudgery of modern living, however briefly?

If you haven't already done so, do yourself a favour and read a copy of this charming novel. Like its title, reading it feels like coming up for air.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Good read from early 20th century writer - still relevant today
Published 1 month ago by jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant.
I have read, many times, that Orwell is the gold standard for prose. This book doesn't disappoint. It's also very funny.
Published 3 months ago by EagerReader
2.0 out of 5 stars Good!
A good read! t is all I expected and hoped for. I don't see why I need to add more words to add my satisfaction of the item for which I paid for and appreciate the swift delivery... Read more
Published 7 months ago by artlover777
2.0 out of 5 stars Cruel
George Orwell is a brilliant writer, but I didn't read any further after him recalling his childhood, with three of his friends, finding four baby chicks out in the forest, after... Read more
Published 12 months ago by A. Golds
5.0 out of 5 stars Unfairly neglected!
Imagine 'Down and out...' but in the suburbs of the Home Counties. Orwell portrays the hopelessness and frustrations of the lower middle class perfectly. Read more
Published 13 months ago by Tomothy
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book and enjoy
This is a book that seemed to be talking to me, and me alone. George Orwell wrote a truly wonderful gem. Read more
Published 13 months ago by harps
4.0 out of 5 stars Don't look back!
Orwell convincingly encapsulates the pre war zeitgeist in this darkly humorous middle aged reverie written in his crisp, uncomplicated narrative style. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Mr. Timothy W. Dumble
5.0 out of 5 stars Coming up for air. Orwell
A real discovery. I like it immensely. The great contrast with '1984' is so remarkable, that I can't but recommend it to my friends.
Published 19 months ago by Willy
5.0 out of 5 stars George Orwell
What can you say about this book? I lost my previous copy so I bought another because I liked it.
Published 19 months ago by Mikey
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine rendition of boyhood
Orwell is a master and once I turned the first couple of pages I remembered why. This evocatation of a time now well past has so many resonences with the childhood that I had in... Read more
Published 19 months ago by Joe Lennox
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