George Orwell: The Critical Heritage

By Jeffrey Meyers | Go to book overview
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48.

Winifred Horrabin, Tribune

21 July 1939, p. 11

Winifred Horrabin, English author of Working-Class Education (1924).

If there is one thing future generations will never be able to say, it is that they do not know how we lived, or what we thought about—provided of course, that the Fascist reaction does not destroy all written records.

In a hundred novels the life and thought of our time is being expressed and, as in George Orwell’s latest and in many ways best work, as finely expressed as in an accurate photograph.

George (Fatty) Bowling, whose life the book describes, is just an ordinary fellow, a man with everything which should make life interesting, a wife, children, a home, a settled job.

But something has happened to his outer world and he is disgruntled and unhappy. His world has become a kind of dustbin—‘the dustbin that we’re in reaches up to the stratosphere’—and there seems no escape, he can’t even come up for air!

He does, therefore, what we all do, take refuge in fantasy, and his particular fantasy is a belief that his earlier life in the village where he was born, before the war, was all sunshine, loveliness and excitement. So he goes back there on a visit, secretly, away from his nagging wife and his strange unfriendly children, to see if he can re-capture that lost rapture.

Needless to say he finds that his little paradise has just become part of the general dustbin which stretches backward into the past as well as forward into the future.

-155-

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George Orwell: The Critical Heritage
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