Down and Out in Paris and London

Paperback, 233 pages

English language

Published Nov. 8, 1954 by Permabooks.

OCLC Number:
403724

View on OpenLibrary

4 stars (54 reviews)

'You have talked so often of going to the dogs – and well, here are the dogs, and you have reached them.' George Orwell's vivid memoir of his time among the desperately poor and destitute in London and Paris is a moving tour of the underworld of society. Here he painstakingly documents a world of unrelenting drudgery and squalor – sleeping in bug-infested hostels and doss houses, working as a dishwasher in the vile 'Hotel X', living alongside tramps, surviving on scraps and cigarette butts – in an unforgettable account of what being down and out is really like.

68 editions

Immediately engaging with a lively prose style

5 stars

In researching the background to Down And Out In Paris And London I found out that the book was initially published as a work of fiction before Orwell admitted that it was practically all autobiographical, albeit with his London homelessness occurring before his Parisian stint in real life. As with the other books of his that I have read, this one is immediately engaging with such a lively prose style that I found it to be a real page-turner. Orwell is simultaneously incredibly insightful and observant, but rarely harangues his readers. Instead he shows us the life he led for several years, described in often sickening clarity. I'm not a particular fan of posh hotels or restaurant dining anyway, but after spending a few hours with Orwell at his dead-end job in an overheated cellar kitchen, Iit will be a long time before I risk eating food I haven't personally …

Review of 'Down and Out in Paris and London' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

This work reminds me of some odd mixture of Hamsun and Hemingway, so naturally, it is incredible! Filled with all sorts of characters, poor peeps, all quite unique in their own right. Poverty annihilates. It annihilates the physical. It annihilates the mental. It strips of dignity. It inspires bitterness. From a miserable enough point of view, can one even be blamed for viewing violence as the only means left to them?

Review of 'Down and out in Paris and London.' on 'Storygraph'

4 stars

Impressive account of living conditions of the poorest people in London and Paris a century ago. Some things have changed for the better, but it's shocking to see that some of the same ideas about poverty still exist today. Ideas that resul in appaling ideas like a tramp jacket, designed by a Dutch design agency a while ago. They should read this book.

Review of 'Down and Out in Paris and London' on 'Goodreads'

5 stars

Brilliant book. Really enjoyed this. I have read 1984 by Orwell and for some reason expected some gentle flowery story, but this kicks off in a quite brutal way.

This book is somewhere between Henry Miller and Charles Bukowski.

The only fault I could find is that it is too short, I would have like to hear more about some of the characters, I'm sure there must have been more stories. In the intro it was noted that Orwell struggled to get this published as it was too short, so he added London to the end.

I'm now a big fan of Orwell and can't wait for the next book of his I read.

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Subjects

  • Paris (France) -- Social conditions
  • Paris (France) -- Poor
  • London (England) -- Social conditions
  • London (England) -- Poor