Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Paperback
3.5 out of 5 (4 ratings)


Gordon Comstock loathes dull, middle-class respectability and worship of money.

He gives up a 'good job' in advertising to work part-time in a bookshop, giving him more time to write.

But he slides instead into a self-induced poverty that destroys his creativity and his spirit.

Only Rosemary, ever-faithful Rosemary, has the strength to challenge his commitment to his chosen way of life.

Through the character of Gordon Comstock, Orwell reveals his own disaffection with the society he once himself renounced.

Enlivened with vivid autobiographical detail, George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a tragically witty account of the struggle to escape from a materialistic existence, with an introduction by Peter Davison in Penguin Modern Classics.




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Showing 1 - 4 of 4 reviews.

Review by

This book was almost written for me - and now it means I cannot write the book I would have written about myself. Like Gordon Comstock, the hero of Orwell's tale, I've always wanted to free myself from the constraints of money and economics, and have never managed to do it. I also wished once to become a writer, and I have slowly allowed my ambition to erode into nothing. So 'Aspidistra' is a sad story, but at its heart there is a great hope for the future - for all the problems that we face, there are possible solutions.Oh, and I'd love one day to work either in a bookshop or a library.

Review by


Gordon Comstock decides to give up what he sees as the inevitable chase for money and status as a sort of romantic gesture. The book follows the dismal results.

Not Orwell's best book - quite slow and clunky at times but the message is good.

Review by

Poor Gordon: he wants to be completely divorced from money, or the desire for making more money. He hates money, he says, and yet he allows the thought of it to rule his life: instead of simply keeping the job that paid okay and might possibly bring in some more cash, he must quit and take a shitty no-pay job that leaves him completely frustrated because he barely has enough money to live. His pride won't allow him to accept money from anyone, even Dutch treat with his sweetheart.I love Orwell: his writing that is so direct and clear; his sly and self-deprecating sense of humor; his startling kowledge of human weaknesses, and his great compassion for those weaknesses--all these combine to make a moving, funny, and very satisfying expreience every time I read his work. One feels that G.O. stares straight at you, unblinking, and just lays his thoughts out for you to examine.

Review by

It is interesting to note that another reviewer here described this book as "funny". I must have completely missed the joke. A few laughs would not have gone amiss. I found this as well-crafted as one would expect from Orwell but quite a grim experience. Another one for my "admired not enjoyed" category - which I think I shall start a tag for.

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