Down and Out in Paris and London

  • by George Orwell
  • Narrated by Jeremy Northam
  • 6 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

An autobiographical study, Down and Out in Paris and London follows Orwell as he tramps around both Paris and London. Pawning his belongings to buy food, unemployment, drinking heavily and jostling for a place in homeless hostels are but a few of the experiences related with candour and insight in this unabridged exclusive audiobook. Orwell was arguably one of the first 'gonzo' journalists.
In this unabridged, enlightening and often shocking expose of life on the streets of two of Europe's most romanticised and celebrated cities, Orwell describes in detail the day-to-day life of a 'down-and-out', which involves hunger, filth, derision and often prejudice and violence. Alcohol is also a staple distraction on both sides of the channel for the destitute, and Orwell's comments on issues such as the emasculation of a man when he becomes a tramp (women see him as 'less than' a man and will not interact with him) are truly fascinating.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Thought-provoking and riveting storytelling

Who would have thought that an endless stream of stories about the awfulness of living on the edge of dire poverty could so gripping, but in the hands of this master storyteller it is. Orwell coped philosophically with the degradation and squalor of his experiences of trying to live on the pittances he earned from long hours of working as a drudge in Paris kitchens. His revelations about how, even in the most prestigious establishments, standards of hygiene and food quality were abysmal reminded me of Anthony Bourdain’s Kitchen Confidential which similarly lifts the lid on modern kitchens.

During his time in Paris, Orwell met many extraordinary characters and their life stories enliven the book as they revel in their tactics for survival and schemes for beating the system buoyed up by unrealistic optimism.

His experiences of travelling with tramps around London, after his return from Paris, are moving and a sad reflection of how some people can fall out of society and have to rely on grudging charity. The book concludes, like his later book The Road to Wigan Pier, with sensible suggestions as to how life could be made better for these indigents at no extra cost or even less cost to society.

The narrator is superb.
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- Kirstine

On the gutter looking for stars

Published in 1933 it carries within itself some cultural differences that are starting and some truth that are universal, it paints a picture of a period in Europe that also illuminates a not so distant future of war foretold by the language used by Orwell himself.
If you have ever worked in a hotel or a restaurant this book is a must, many things have changed especially in hygiene, but others are still in the culture of these modern establishments and are described with a flair and truthfulness that is unparalleled in other books about the subject. The humour in this book was something I did not expect but it was very much appreciated.
Also what I did not expect was the use of the word jew with such disdain and hate it surprised me because I had never encountered it on his books before, also it shows that Europe was on a path that Germany brought into reality, It reinforced my feeling that it is hard to escape culture and fashion even for great minds, and this makes this book even more revealing of our contemporary weaknesses, it also illustrate that we need NOT censor any work because its revelations are warnings.
The descriptions and characters are better than most novels, the stagnation on desperation is palpable and real but so is the humanity of all he meets.
A brilliant work of reportage and life; an incredible immersion in the places no one wants to explore, but we all need to know.
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- Wras

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-01-2010
  • Publisher: CSA Word