Down and Out in Paris and London

Down and Out in Paris and London

Book - 1987
Average Rating:
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Publisher: London : Penguin Books, c1987, 1933.
ISBN: 9780141184388
9780140002973
0140002979
9780140182309
0140182306
9780141187365
0141187360
9780141042701
Branch Call Number: 305.569 ORW
Characteristics: 188 p. ;,18 cm.

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SB2000 May 04, 2011

Another Orwell classic. Atmospheric, mostly accutely obeserved and a great read. Some elements are a little overdrawn but overall, it is a visceral portrait of poverty in two of the great cities of pre-war / depression era Europe. A "must read".


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r
raydot
Sep 06, 2017

If this ruins your vision of Paris or of restaurants you should be should be grateful you have no real idea about either. I can tell you having worked as a waiter in London -- some 50 years after this book was published -- that the accounts are fairly true although the slang has certainly changed. With his usual insight Orwell nails it, and exposes the dirty underbelly to which most of us that will gather here should be glad to never submit.

k
KatherineHere
Apr 20, 2016

The first half of the book is about living poor and dirty in Paris, looking for work, being foreign, drunk, etc. After finding work at a hotel as a "plongeur," kind of a general helper and dishwasher, a step below busboy, it describes the grueling work, filthy employee hygiene and unsanitary restaurant conditions, long hours, and low pay. The perfect socialist conclusion is that there shouldn't be plongeurs to do this work because people with more money shouldn't have more money, in the first place, and, therefore, shouldn't stay in hotels, creating the need for this type of work and causing people to be employed as plongeurs, period. For the average person, like me, you come away with the thought that you would never, ever want to eat in a Paris restaurant. 2 stars for spoiling my vision.

redban Feb 02, 2015

This is a fun book, but you will also begin to build a complete picture of the author behind Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four, and why Democratic Socialism and the working class mean so much to Orwell.

The book by Orwell that truly illustrates this: Homage to Catalonia.

g
Gourmando
Dec 05, 2014

He's young and innocent, sleeping on park benches and working for a meager supper washing dishes in squalid restaurants. His descriptions are hilarious.

jlazcan Oct 15, 2011

If you have ever had to live on $2 a day or worked as a busboy in a restaurant you will understand Orwell's situation in this book. I had to suppress my laughter at various times on the Subway while reading it. There are some dated descriptions that some may find racist or offensive, but it was written decades ago and I chose to let them slide. The book is very entertaining and simple and easy to read like all of Orwell’s work. You can tell that he really lived these experiences and his first hand accounts are both funny and descriptive. If you like “Homage to Catalonia”, “Burmese Days” or many of Orwell’s short stories you will probably like this book too.

SB2000 May 04, 2011

Another Orwell classic. Atmospheric, mostly accutely obeserved and a great read. Some elements are a little overdrawn but overall, it is a visceral portrait of poverty in two of the great cities of pre-war / depression era Europe. A "must read".

j
johnwilla
Aug 16, 2010

This is an excellent example of a kind of 1930's 'walkabout literature'--a disaffected individual who walks away from his (or her) circumstances. Other examples are by Laurie Lee and Patrick Leigh Fermor. Orwell's account of his restaurant job in Paris is especially harrowing, but the story of being on the bum in England is also pretty depressing.

e
Exactly
Aug 13, 2010

This book is great to read if you're feeling broke or just want a reminder that money isn't everything.

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vancouvervoodoo
Feb 12, 2012

"Why are beggars despised? I believe it is for the simple reason that they fail to earn a living. In practice no one cares whether work is useful or useless; the sole thing demanded is that it shall be profitable."

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