Reaction Weekend

Lost Classic – Coming Up for Air, by George Orwell

Lost Classic is the Reaction series in which we highlight great works that are under-appreciated or forgotten

BY Philip Patrick   /  19 October 2019

Imagine if “the novels of George Orwell” were a category on Pointless, what would the best (i.e. most obscure) answer be?

Obviously the two biggies (Animal Farm, 1984) would score massively, but there would surely be a huge drop off after that. Keep the Aspidistra Flying, A Clergyman’s Daughter, and perhaps Burmese Days would probably sound faint bells for some, for their roll off the tongue titles, if nothing else. But I’d wager the least known, and your best chance for that jackpot, would be Coming up for Air, Orwell’s fourth novel, which he wrote while recuperating from illness in Morocco in 1939.

This little gem of a book certainly has its fans, and like the sea-turtles referenced in the title, it does surface from time to time in someone’s list of favourites or recommendations; but, probably as a result of unfortunate timing (released at the outbreak of the Second World War)


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