We are currently making improvements to the Audible site. In an effort to enhance the accessibility experience for our customers, we have created a page to more easily navigate the new experience, available at the web address www.audible.com/access.
Call anytime(888) 283-5051
Coming up for Air | [George Orwell]

Coming up for Air

George Bowling, an insurance salesman, hits middle age and feels impelled to “come up for air” from his life of quiet desperation. With seventeen pounds he has won at a race, he steals a vacation from his wife and family and pays a visit to Lower Binfield, the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. But the pool is gone, Lower Binfield has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of Bowling’s holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.
Regular Price:$17.47
  • Membership Details:
    • First book free with 30-day trial
    • $14.95/month thereafter for your choice of 1 new book each month
    • Cancel easily anytime
    • Exchange books you don't like
    • All selected books are yours to keep, even if you cancel
  • - or -

Your Likes make Audible better!

'Likes' are shared on Facebook and Audible.com. We use your 'likes' to improve Audible.com for all our listeners.

You can turn off Audible.com sharing from your Account Details page.

OK

Publisher's Summary

George Bowling, an insurance salesman, hits middle age and feels impelled to “come up for air” from his life of quiet desperation. With seventeen pounds he has won at a race, he steals a vacation from his wife and family and pays a visit to Lower Binfield, the village where he grew up, to fish for carp in a pool he remembers from thirty years before. But the pool is gone, Lower Binfield has changed beyond recognition, and the principal event of Bowling’s holiday is an accidental bombing by the RAF.

Bowling’s everyman life provides a sort of cavalcade of England from 1893 to 1938. Written when the clouds of World War II were already gathering, this story of Bowling’s journey into his own and his country’s past is told with humor, warmth, and nostalgia that will surprise and delight George Orwell’s many readers.

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.

©1950 The Estate of the Late Sonia Brownell Orwell (P)1991 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

“By any standards, a work of rare vigor and imagination…Confirms one’s estimate of Mr. Orwell as a major prophet among the world’s still lively minority of thinking men.” (NewYork Herald Tribune Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (7 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (1)
3 star
 (3)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Overall
4.1 (7 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (2)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Story
4.1 (7 )
5 star
 (3)
4 star
 (2)
3 star
 (2)
2 star
 (0)
1 star
 (0)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 07-10-12
    Darwin8u Mesa, AZ, United States 07-10-12 Member Since 2011

    A part-time buffoon and ersatz scholar specializing in BS, pedantry, schmaltz and cultural coprophagia.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    7387
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    398
    394
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    1238
    15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Orwell Flirts and Fishes w/ Nostalgia & Modernity."

    A novel that explores the pastoral life and experiences of youth in Edwardian England before the First World War as a memory of a man who is anxious about his own existence and pessimistic about his nation's inevitable progress towards another world war.

    I think John Wain was right when he said, "What makes _Coming Up For Air_ so peculiarly bitter to the taste is that, in addition to calling up the twin spectres of totalitarianism and workless poverty, it also declares the impossibility of 'retaining one's childhood love of such things as trees, fishes, butterflies' - because it postulates a world in which these things are simply not there any more."

    This is a pessimistic novel that deals with sevearl paired themes:
    - nostalgia for the past vs fear of the future
    - memory vs truth
    - memento mori vs inevitable change
    - the individual/internal vs the universal/external
    - liberty vs loss
    - poverty vs wealth

    As with Orwell's other work, 'Coming Up for Air' has some amazing prose and is definitely worth the effort. Brown does a great job reading this novel in a way that evokes both the pre-World War I and pre-World War II eras.

    11 of 11 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ian Farnborough, United Kingdom 08-25-14
    Ian Farnborough, United Kingdom 08-25-14 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
    331
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    155
    68
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    60
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Orwell's best?"

    OK. Orwell is one of the most important writers in the English language. 1984 is probably the book that saved us from living entirely in the society it describes. And all of 1984 is here, in embryo, disguised as a book about going back to your youth and it's environs.

    Orwell is always at his most fluid when he is describing politics or nature and here he goes full pelt at both of them. The Two Minutes Hate is here. Duckspeak is here. And so is the Golden Country. And here the description of the Golden Country is given full reign. And runs to cover quite a bit of the first few chapters.

    I allow myself the conceit that George Bowling, the main protagonist, is actually the father of the Winston Smith of 1984. The timeline is nearly right and there are aspects of Bowling's story that make it just about possible. I'm pretty sure that Orwell had no intention to make it so but the two stories definitely flow into each other in a way that this idea enhances.

    The story is however mainly about the coarseness of progress and the loss of rural life to commercialism, speculation and "airy fairynesss" for lack of a better phrase. This novel was published during the period where totalitarian states were taking actions that Orwell recognised as leading to inevitable war but before the actual outbreak of conflict for Britain. As such it is an important window onto that period of history.

    The narration is very good and the overall production is excellent.

    If you only ever read one Orwell it should be this one, but shame on you if it is.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bernard Tallahassee, FL, United States 09-10-12
    Bernard Tallahassee, FL, United States 09-10-12
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    1
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "ORWELL!! His best."
    Would you listen to Coming up for Air again? Why?

    again and again and again. This has been regarded by serious critics as Orwell's best work, and I agree.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    George


    What about Richard Brown’s performance did you like?

    His overall somewhat cynical tone and characterization fit the work perfectly.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    no

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Showing: 1-3 of 3 results

    There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.

Cancel

Thank You

Your report has been received. It will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.