Colonial politics in Kyauktada, India, in the 1920s, come to a head when the European Club, previously for whites only, is ordered to elect one token native member. The deeply racist members do their best to manipulate the situation, resulting in the loss not only of reputations but of lives.
Amid this cynical setting, timber merchant James Flory, a Brit with a genuine appreciation for the native people and culture, stands as a bridge between the warring factions. But he has trouble acting on his feelings, and the significance of his vote, both social and political, weighs on him. When Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives - blonde, eligible, and anti-intellectual - Flory finds himself the hapless suitor.
Orwell alternates between grand-scale political intrigue and nuanced social interaction, mining his own Colonial Indian heritage to create a monument of historical fiction.
George Orwell (1903–1950), the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, was an English novelist, essayist, and critic. He was born in India and educated at Eton. After service with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, he returned to Europe to earn his living by writing and became notable for his simplicity of style and his journalistic or documentary approach to fiction.
©1934 George Orwell (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“A well integrated, fast-moving story of what life was like in a remote backcountry Asiatic station.” (Chicago Tribune)
I write for myself, for my own pleasure. And I want to be left alone to do it. - Salinger ^(;,;)^
A sad, fierce and ambitious novel about the emptiness and loneliness of the waning days of the British Empire. It shows the ugliness and corruption of British class-based social structure, cultural bigotry and the harsh individual fantasies that are needed to keep the whole system afloat. It shows the future potential of Orwell, but lacks the restrained grace of his later novels. There are, however, definite glitters and shadows of both E.M. Forster and Joseph Conrad throughout. It is worth the listen for those interested in early Orwell or the decline of the post-WWI British Empire.
Orwell is a better artist than he is given credit for. For a first novel this is very impressive. The one obvious problem with it is the unrelentingly negative portrayal of people that dominates. He despises the British colonialists; and he has a jaundiced view of the native Burmese. The narrator, Frederick Davidson, has the right kind of voice for snobby colonialists, but I get tired of that voice sometimes.
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