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Down and Out in Paris and London Audiobook

Down and Out in Paris and London

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Publisher's Summary

An autobiographical study, Down and Out in Paris and London follows Orwell as he tramps around both Paris and London. Pawning his belongings to buy food, unemployment, drinking heavily and jostling for a place in homeless hostels are but a few of the experiences related with candour and insight in this unabridged exclusive audiobook. Orwell was arguably one of the first 'gonzo' journalists.

In this unabridged, enlightening and often shocking expose of life on the streets of two of Europe's most romanticised and celebrated cities, Orwell describes in detail the day-to-day life of a 'down-and-out', which involves hunger, filth, derision and often prejudice and violence. Alcohol is also a staple distraction on both sides of the channel for the destitute, and Orwell's comments on issues such as the emasculation of a man when he becomes a tramp (women see him as 'less than' a man and will not interact with him) are truly fascinating.

©1933 George Orwell Estate; (P)2009 CSA Word

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (233 )
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4.7 (177 )
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  •  
    Stephen Hitchin, United Kingdom 18/05/2012
    Stephen Hitchin, United Kingdom 18/05/2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Familiar Flavour"

    This was Eric Arthur Blairs first book. I had read Road to Wigan Pier previously. The books have a very similar style. The difference is in the depth of poverty Orwell describes. (specifically starving to death in Paris and as a tramp in England) He makes no attempt to convince you of the evil that poverty is or the misplaced justification which we use to treat the poor as deficient or sub-human.

    It appears to me that Orwells political views were unformed at the time of this first book. Little political commentary exists. His writing is honest in his own view. His opinion that a man who had confessed to a double murder was a throughly decent chap, innocent and yet ironic.

    If you would like to appreciate a new the rich lives we live. Read this book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lal-Akash London, United Kingdom 26/11/2011
    Lal-Akash London, United Kingdom 26/11/2011 Member Since 2016
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    "Great autobiographical listen"

    I found the content and style fascinating although it is hard to determine how much of it applies to modern tramps. The character Bozo was pretty inspiring.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul Melbourne, Australia 04/01/2011
    Paul Melbourne, Australia 04/01/2011
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    "Excellent"

    A great combination of an excellent book read by a great narrator. I'd highly recommend this particular recording - very, very entertaining. The narration is brilliant.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Frazer United Kingdom 27/10/2010
    Frazer United Kingdom 27/10/2010
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    "A worth-while listen"

    Before listening to ?Down & Out? I had already ready 1984 and Animal Farm of Orwell?s other works (both excellent). This book differs from them in that it is largely autobiographical, inter-dispersed with elements of social commentary for which all of Orwells? books are famous. This biographical nature does add a certain intrigue to the book and gives it a depth and validity that would otherwise be lacking. It is at times shocking, but also quite enlightening and at times heart-warming. However, one can?t help but have the feeling that he was merely a ?tourist? in this situation and that he could at any time have got himself out of it if he so chose. In this vein, I saw the book as verging on being condescending to the very people that it tries so hard to humanise for us. He points out that tramps are normal people in every sense, but are merely down on their luck. He also points out the total ineffectiveness of the state in dealing with these people. His aim throughout is to show that ?tramps? deserve respect and help, but it is difficult to escape the knowledge of who the author is and that he is in that situation largely out of choice and not really ?Down and Out?. I don?t want to imply that it is not a good book ? it is ? it?s just that I found it more of an ?outsiders? perspective. Still, worth a listen (especially if you are a fan of his other works).

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Bristow Music 23/10/2015 Member Since 2016
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    "You don't know poverty"

    What's it really like to be hard up? A shocking, detailed and candid investigation into poverty.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard Blant 20/07/2015
    Richard Blant 20/07/2015 Member Since 2015
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    "Superb"
    Where does Down and Out in Paris and London rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    The journalism, courage and compassion is unparalleled. A fantastic example to our current crop of list compilers and press release johnnies who call themselves members of that profession.


    What other book might you compare Down and Out in Paris and London to, and why?

    Nick Davies - Dark Heart. Going into the slimy underbelly of society and able to empathise with the people and write with compassion about their lives.


    Which character – as performed by Jeremy Northam – was your favourite?

    N/A


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    I did!


    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Nigel Bromley 13/06/2015
    Nigel Bromley 13/06/2015 Member Since 2013
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    "Great narration"

    A wonderful account of characters found on the breadline.

    Makes you almost want to go Tramping

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dave 20/01/2015
    Dave 20/01/2015
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    "Fascinating"

    A beautifully written (and spoken) account of an amazing story. Tale of the grim realities of poverty, yet strangely uplifting I will certainly read more George Orwell after this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mara 08/07/2013
    Mara 08/07/2013 Member Since 2012

    Book geek, editor and proof-reader. Gaelic poetry-lover.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Masterful reading of this modern classic."

    Superb reading by a supremely talented British actor, who brings the characters to life and makes Orwell's prose and phrasing sing.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roger NORWICH, United Kingdom 30/09/2011
    Roger NORWICH, United Kingdom 30/09/2011
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    "Good"

    Good, well narrated book. The narrator did some great impersonations of the characters in the book. Very talented man.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Paul C Morris
    23/07/10
    Overall
    "A Superb Writer"

    Orwell specialises in writing reportage, which gives details of his life experiences. His writing style is direct and as clear as looking through a pane of glass. His experiences working in hotels in London and Paris are at times grim, but his sense of humour shines through. Not as well known as Animal Farm and 1984 but still a tour de force.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Ross Engers
    01/05/16
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    "Great listen! Thoroughly enjoyed it."

    Great listen! Thoroughly enjoyed it. The Audio book does this classic book justice. Easy to follow along.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Chrissie
    Brussels, Belgium
    02/09/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Report, Memoir or Novel?"

    OK, here is why I did not like this book:

    This is touted as a book of fiction with strong autobiographical elements. So if Orwell is presenting a book of fiction I want characters who engage me. I want a bit of a story. I want good descriptive writing. This novel fails on these points. It reads as a report. It is instead the direct retelling of Orwell’s experiences when he was down and out trying to survive in the slums first of Paris and then later in London. Probably the 1920s.. He had no money – at times, not even a few centimes. No job, no home, no clothes, no sleep – only hunger and cold and bugs. I am telling you his situation was m-i-s-e-r-a-b-l-e! He delivers a minute by minute account of his days as a dishwasher and as a homeless bum when he didn’t even have dishwashing. I do sympathize with him and his comrades’ plight, but if Orwell wanted to present this as a novel then the characters should draw me in. This is not the nature of the book; it is a report of what he saw and experienced.

    So, if this is a report then I must judge how that report is delivered. I disliked elements of this report:
    -the author’s anti-Semitic views
    -the concluding analysis of how the homeless’ situation should be improved
    -and in a report one need not include numerous verbatim emotional outbursts filled with expletives.

    I do believe Orwell’s experiences could have been turned into a novel about the life of people working in restaurants, cooks and waiters and yes the dishwashers too. The homeless and the foreign exiles. It could have made a marvelous novel, but what is delivered here is half novel and half memoir, neither one nor the other.

    Jeremy Northam narrated the audiobook I listened to. Set in the slums of both London and Paris there are numerous foreign exiles and thus numerous dialects. The only dialects that felt genuine were the British ones. The Russian dialect was ridiculously fake. The French was off too, and half of the book is set in Paris!

    Really, I did want to give this at least two stars because the plight of the lowest of low in the slums of Paris and London is clearly depicted, but my honest feeling toward this book is one of dislike. So one star it is.

    Read Homage to Catalonia or Animal Farm instead. They are better.

    0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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