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Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
69
4.5 out of 5 stars
Coming Up for Air (Penguin Modern Classics)
Format: Paperback|Change
Price:£6.86+ Free shipping with Amazon Prime


on 22 March 2016
My absolute favourite Orwell, read again for the first time since I first read all of Orwell in 1968!! And it's still a charming book!
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on 29 June 2017
The author tells a good story in all of his books and this is no exception. For me he dwelt on fishing and fishy tales too much in the first third of the book. After that it was quick paced and a really good read. His very descriptive writing brought the story and characters alive. The editing could have been better. Several spelling errors and the use of the same wording in passages describing some characters. However this does not detract from a good story.
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on 4 August 2017
This was an old edition but the description of the book matched its appearance
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on 15 April 2017
Good
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on 12 July 2017
Bought for my husband
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on 2 October 2017
Amazing book - as expected!
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on 7 February 2013
What can you say about this book? I lost my previous copy so I bought another because I liked it.
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on 12 August 2010
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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on 1 June 2013
Orwell convincingly encapsulates the pre war zeitgeist in this darkly humorous middle aged reverie written in his crisp, uncomplicated narrative style. He is a master of introspection and through George Bowling offers the reader a sardonic social commentary on the middle classes- the obsession with money and fear of debt, the guilt associated with enjoyment and the relentless pursuit of self improvement.

Bowling hilariously personifies the self imposed entrapment of middle age - the marriage, parental responsibility, mortgage and lack of time for oneself. His personal trials and tribulations are played out against the ominous backdrop of the inevitability of war which hangs over the narrative like a London smog.

As the blurb acknowledges, the seeds of much of Orwell's later, defining works are clearly present in this narrative- a nascent Animal Farm and in George Bowling an embryonic Winston Smith. The reader is also left wondering how much of the narrative is autobiographical, giving a tantalising insight into the life of the author.

The strong message of Coming up for Air is not to obsess about the past or to worry unduly about a future over which we have little control but to focus on the present. George Bowling's failure to catch the giant carp is a warning to us all - do things now while we still can.
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on 30 April 2017
Another very good book from Orwell, I read it in a day.
The book centres around George Bowling looking back at his life growing up in an Oxfordshire village, and then visiting it years later and being totally shocked at the how much the village has changed.
A very enjoyable read!
It seems to be that the books of his I have read get me totally engrossed, and that I can't put them down until I finish reading them!
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