Book info

Keep The Aspidistra Flying (2000)

Keep the Aspidistra Flying (2000)
Author
Rating
3.86 of 5 Votes: 1
ISBN
0141183721 (ISBN13: 9780141183725)
languge
English
publisher
penguin books ltd
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Keep The Aspidistra Flying (2000)
Keep The Aspidistra Flying (2000)

About book: I felt I needed to pick up another George Orwell book when I was thinking about it and realized just how perfect in my mind Animal Farm and 1984 were. It's been a few years since I read either, but I was itching to read 1984 again.... in the end decided I should read something new instead though. What a great choice.George Orwell has crafted the most realistic struggling artist character of all time, in my mind, in Gordon Comstock, the poet. Gordon has potential, talent, intelligence and good people around him. But he suffers due to his stubbornness as he wages war against money and all that it stands for. He lives an absurd paradox of life where he doesn't know if he's miserable because of money or if money makes him miserable. He doesn't know if he chose to be upset, but he knows that he is now. I don't think Gordon is supposed to be taken too literally. I think Orwell wrote him with his tongue in cheek, poking fun at struggling artists who whine and complain instead of crafting their art and working hard. I think "money" could be anything an artist will make an excuse about for him not succeeding or coming out ahead. Gordon constantly complains about how modern art is in the gutter and how people are too stupid nowadays to grasp proper art. He is negative about mostly everything and I feel like if his character in this book were read by someone without so much humour, he could be very unlikable. He's a lot like Holden Caulfield in that way. I love Holden, but I can see why many people don't get it and hate on him. But to be honest, I really loved Gordon. He reminds me so much of myself at times or all the other artists I have known throughout my life. He has very high highs where his art is golden & great, and low lows where he feels all his work is trash. He is bitter for not being where he wants to be, even if he is there by choice. We're shown some of his bitterness and some of his pride in his thoughts and it made me laugh out loud a few times. He's a delight to read, even though he would give me a headache to hang with.Also, there is a drunken scene in the novel... I don't think I've ever read a scene that was so realistic and pungent with it's point. It reminded me so much of one night where I had to practically babysit one of my drunken friends. Or anytime I've had with an absurdly drunk person for that matter. It also perfectly captured what it's like to talk to and with a pretentious person critiquing the arts. How tedious it can become (both the babysitting and the conversing). It was remarkable and may be one of my favorite scenes of any book I've ever read ever. My one gripe with the book is it takes a bit of a turn in tone around 3/4 through and gets a bit more serious, sad and heavy, slowing it down. But it wasn't bad, it just slowed down, which is quite a change, considering the extreme joy I was getting at breezing through and soaking in the prose, that is. It was still very gripping and I thoroughly enjoyed taking it all in.Orwell blows my mind with his consistency and perfectly constructed story with some of the most beautiful prose I've ever had the privilege to read. The ending gives you a lot to think about, like 1984 and animal farm. Orwell has a knack for endings, and though this isn't my favorite from the 3 books, it is still pretty great. I feel like this is a book that will only get better in my mind as time goes on and I have time to reflect on it and it's already near perfect in my eyes.

Finishing the book within a day, I have a feeling that I just experienced something profoundly beautiful. Keep the Aspidistra Flying is the story of a very likable anti-hero and a very outstanding heroine. That story between the two characters is almost too sacred to give out in a book review. You have to read it yourself.Yet there is still something to talk about: the author's message. You can't read and put down Orwell's novels without rearranging a few of your beliefs.Only Orwell can speechify so effortlessly the concepts of love and the accompanying hatred, of wealth and the necessary poverty. He can break your heart with paragraphs about coins in your pocket, of bread and margarine in your stomach, of the cost and loss of self-respect, of not being able to afford friendship. It seems like it's less painful to withdraw from the world than struggle within it. You're convinced of it, anyhow.Orwell feeds you every argument for hating the world -- you're nodding with every argument for hating the world -- but then purges this emotion away.No, it's not enough to hate the world for the rest of your life, Orwell seems to gently tell you. For in return for showing you the absolute worst in earth, he gives you reasons for forgiveness, reasons for redemption, reasons for optimism. Life is not unlivable; living is worth it.Why is such a process necessary? Destruction and reconstruction of beliefs is required to be a fully human being, because only the renewed belief is not the default nor the destined kind, but desired and determined. It is the contribution of choice; you choose to be a flawed part of a flawed world, and only then are you relieved. No longer an impostor nor traitor, but finally the human being you, unapologetically fulfilling the human destiny.Once again, I can't find fault in George Orwell.
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Reviews
Tiziana
Objectively speaking, I am not sure that this is really a five-star book. But it certainly has affected me like one, hence my 'grade'. I have read it compulsively because despite being for many aspects so far away in time and setting (the book solidly mirrors and describes the social context of the Thirties in England), to me it felt so 'true', that it was almost too real.The thing is that the book deals with things that have started to trouble me personally now that I am settling in, that I have just started my first proper job, and that the 'rest of my life' has begun.Despite his harshness and stubborness, in Gordon Cormistock, the protagonist, I have traced my own concerns, my own disillusionment and disappointment. In him I have found my fears and temptations, and the dangers of coalescing with the pressures that society, family and friends exert on us. The dilemma that so many of us are faced with at some crucial point in our lives: should I follow my dream, or should I opt for normality, safety, a 'good job'? But also, more subtly (because Orwell's novel is not as black-and-white as that): isn't the first option another form of betrayal towards ourselves, towards the dreamers that we used to be? Because maybe it's all about understanding that you can't win, and that to grow up is to accept this deepest form of disillusionment.The novel itself is extremely well-observed, precise, honest. I respect George Orwell even more, after reading it.
Sahar
اين داستان روايتگر يك تصميم گيري است: تن دادن به شيوه هاي اقتصادي رايج گذران زندگي و قبول اهميت بيش از حد پول و يا داشتن يك زندگي پست و توام با تحقير و اهانت و فقر، تصميمي كه شايد هركسي در برهه اي از زندگي با آن مواجه شود. جنگ عليه پول و تفكراتي از اين دست اگرچه به لحاظ اخلاقي پسنديده و قابل درك هستند اما به همان ميزان زمانيكه به مرحله ي عمل ميرسند هم براي خود و هم اطرافيان آزار دهنده ميشود. گوردون با وسواسي آزاردهنده به مبارزه با خداي پول ميپردازد اما در نهايت حقيقت زندگي كه بر محور اقتصاد و پو
Capsguy
Three stars for me is pretty low, and it`s disappointing that I am giving it to an author like Orwell. Generally I love his works, they are so diverse, and yet always serious even in their more comical aspects. One thing that has been done to death for me, is the struggling artist/author. I have read so many books with this as the main premise that I no longer care, I just do not. Perhaps if this wasn`t regurgitated so much and my exposure to it was minimal, then perhaps I could have dove deeper into Keep the Aspidistra Flying and enjoyed it more than I did. Alas, that was not the case.His social commentary seemed dryer and didn`t really touch upon anything not already done at the time he wrote it. There`s still some more Orwell for me to check out, like Burmese Days (or whatever it is called) and this `low` ranking hasn`t detracted me at all from continuing on my aim to read everything he wrote that was published.I`d still recommend it to the average reader.
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