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Down and Out in Paris and London cover art

Down and Out in Paris and London

Written by: George Orwell
Narrated by: Frederick Davidson
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Publisher's Summary

Orwell's own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a man living in Paris in the early 1930s without a penny. The narrator's poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only.

A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering truths about poverty and society.

©1962 S. M. Pitt-Rivers (P)1993 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the critics say

"Genuine, unexaggerated, and intelligent." - ( New Republic)
"The most lucid portrait of poverty in the English language...combines good narrative with wit, humor, and honest realism." ( The Nation)
"Excellent...a model of the realistic approach." ( New York Times Book Review)

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What listeners say about Down and Out in Paris and London

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Loved it

I did not know that George Orwell wrote books like this but I'm going to check his other books of course besides 1984 which I read years ago. I couldn't put this story down. There was so much humor and detail that it made it so real and so much feeling in it that you could identify with the characters. I learned a lot about how life is for people who do those kinds of jobs and who are impoverished.

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Great performance

Great performance by the narrator, the story is quite humorous at times, and disturbing at others. Unsurprisingly, as it was written in 1933, there is a lot of anti semitism throughout which was uneasy but gives you a better idea of the common sentiment predating WWII.

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  • Sam
  • 2024-03-05

Sad glimpse into 1930s life

Preformance took some time to get used to...I had to slow down from 1.2 to regular speed but he did a good job. This book might be easier to read if you lack the ear for some French in the Paris portion. Of course as this is written in 1930s there is racism, prejudice and unfortunately anti semitism. It is an interesting story and some portions are sadly still very accurate to our society today

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Down and Out in Paris and London

On the surface, this book is about the poor and how they survived in Paris and London, but but it is really it is about politics, the rich, how governments supposed support places strive to keep the poor, poor.

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more than 1984

Orwell is so well appreciated for 1984 that his other works don't really get the credit they deserve. Down and Out in Paris and London is fantastic. I'm eager to start Homage to Catalonia and Road to Weigan Pier next based off this listen.

Superb narration.

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Fantastic

Really enjoyed this work. Listened right after listening to The Great Courses series of lectures on George Orwell, and it provided great context. He really did go live amongst these men. Timeless. Great narration.

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A Theatrical Delivery

The narrator's style is a little hard to follow at first given the British accent, but he certainly puts his whole heart into impersonating every single member of the mottled crew he is tasked to represent. Being a bilingual english/french speaker helps follow the feel of the text, and you can tell from the quality of his impersations that the narrator understands and amplifies every aspect of his speeches.
He thus manages to express and emphasize a richness to the text that even I, a bilingual speaker, would have struggled to perceive on a first read.
This is one of those circumstances where hearing is better than reading, and so I'm glad I made this purchase, at a fraction of one month's credit.

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