Institutionalised racism by the colonials provides both the context and the driving force for most of the characters. Our "hero" - if that's the right word - at least puts up some token resistance. When push comes to shove, though, he is also found to be wanting.
Orwell's own experiences in Burma add authenticity to his description of some pretty vapid lifestyles.
I'm torn between four and five stars, so my rating errs on the generous side.