A Clergyman's Daughter Paperback – 28 Sep 2000
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Volume 3 from The Complete Works Of George Orwell, available separately for the first time. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
About the Author
Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. His novels and non-fiction include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.
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Top Customer Reviews
If it was by a lesser author it would probably have a much stronger reputation than it does. As it is, yes it definitely is the weakest of his novels, but as an evocative panorama of life below-the-breadline in depression-era England it is fantastic. A lot of the scenarios (hop-picking in Kent; homeless in Trafalgar Square) will be familiar to anyone who's read Orwell's diaries or some of his essays, but alongside the unforgettable school-teaching scenes and the brilliant descriptions of life in a small, petty, curtain-twitching village, the book as whole is as good as any account I've read of what it was like to be on the fringes of society and struggling for money in the early '30s.
The general criticisms of the novel are all entirely valid. Dorothy's amnesia is never properly explained; the hop-picking scenes are too descriptive and close to Orwell's reportage diaries of his time doing this; and the 'experimental' scenes around Trafalgar Square get rather annoying and skippable after the first couple of pages; BUT, if you go into the novel, as I did, prepared for these things, then they really don't matter, and didn't mar my enjoyment of it as a whole. What was good was VERY good, enough so to make up for the weaknesses. In particular I think the chapter of the book in which Dorothy becomes a school-teacher ranks up there with anything Orwell wrote, especially in his characterisation of the detestable Mrs Creevy and the way he describes the gradual disintegration of Dorothy's initial enthusiasm and promise.Read more ›
In spite of this, any fan of Orwell will have a soft spot for 'A Clergyman's Daughter', if only because it's this writer's most conspicuous failure. Some of it, the depiction of the heroine's awful and cramped life as the daughter of a snobbish and mean-minded clergyman, plus the vivid accounts of hop-picking and teaching in a cheap and nasty school, are unforgettable. Against that, you have to cope with the fairly implausible story (why and how does Dorothy lose her memory?), the shallow characterisation and the fairly woeful 'experimental' chapter in which Dorothy attempts to spend a night among the homeless in Trafalgar Square, the whole thing rendered as a clunky pastiche of a chapter in 'Ulysses'.
Orwell tried to digest his own personal experiences into fictional form, and in this case he failed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Orwell might not have been so keen on it, but I still think it is a fantastic readPublished 6 months ago by rhysedwardday
Very good read, as one would expect from George Orwell. Who is it about? Clues in the title. I have sent for several of his books lately, it is good to go back years as times and... Read morePublished 9 months ago by davidLat Ches
A tale of a middle class runaway daughter struggling to survive during economic hard times.Published 11 months ago by L.W
"Apart from the dialogue stage in Trafalgar Square, I thoroughly enjoyed this gripping read." - Patricia BrownPublished 17 months ago by Patrick Brown