Keep the Aspidistra Flying, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


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.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Classic fiction (pre c 1945)
  • ISBN: 9780141395470

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Warning - if you are one of those people who can't stand novels without "sympathetic" central characters, "Keep the Aspidistra Flying" is not for you.Gordon Comstock is one of the most pathetic figures in twentieth century novels. He's one of those annoying artistic-type people who inflict unhappiness upon themselves and those around them because they regard themselves as too pure for the corrupt world we all live in. Gordon is self-pitying, he whinges about his life, and he constantly sponges off his friends and family. Orwell generally succeeds in making him interesting, however, and you keep reading in order to see how and where he will receive his comeuppance.Orwell's descriptions of the seedy side of working class London in the 1930s are wonderful. In my mind, Gordon's decadent and degrading night out in Soho is one of the great "drunk" scenes in literature.

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