A very timely read given the current state of our economy. Orwell discusses his own life experiences of living in poverty in both London and Paris in the early 1930's. This was an interesting book, although distrubing at times. Orwell finds himself working 17 hour days just to make enough money to survive in Paris and ends up living in homeless shelters in London after a job falls through. Lots of depictions of squalid living conditions and starvation amongst the people he meets. This book helps you realize the importance of having a social safety net in place for the poor and it also gives you some idea of how laws and protections for workers have changed over the years. This book may have been the inspiration for "Nickel and Dimed", a more recent book with a similar premise but nowhere near the same realism as Orwell presents. An excellent read that keeps a good pace and draws you in.
A classic dark portrait of life in the twenties and thirties in Paris and London. THe main character, much like Orwell, is in Paris struggling for survival and thankful for the drugery of sixteen hour work days and four francs a night for drinks. Fascinating, amusing and powerful!
Orwell is best known for 1984 and Animal Farm. Everyone should read these 2 books. But my absolute favorite Orwell is his essays, and this book, Down and Out in Paris and London. I rarely read a book twice, but I made an exception in this case (afterall, the last time I read it was over 30 years ago). This is Orwell's first book, and you can see the mature Orwell peaking out. What I love is the exotic and quirky characters that populate the book. This is a travelogue of the underbelly of 2 great cities. Yes, you'll see 4 star hotels, but you'll see them from 4 floors below in the stink, filth, and heat of the kitchen, and the characters that work there. A great piece of reportage in the form of a fictional account.