Reviews of Coming up for Air (1939)
Coming up for Air is an interesting novel about a man's life up to the second World War. The title is an allegory to the man coming back to his hometown to rekindle his well-remembered childhood, to dissociate himself from his current monotonous tone of life, only to have it all stamped away. He has attempted to "come up for air" from his responsibilities and finally live his dream; fishing, but all that is gone where Time has proven to be the ultimate winner. Time has changed everything he has remembered, and as a result, he never gets that air he came for, and in a sense, his freedom dies with it.
It is a very well written novel, of course, but to call it as profound and ground-breaking as some of Orwell's other work would be lying. It is good, just not great.
(This review refers to the 1939 version titled “Coming up for Air”)
Review by m3at (2003-11-17)
I'd had this book sitting on my shelf almost exactly two years before I got around to reading it. It's a very interesting look at life in pre-WWII middle-class England, as well as a look back at what was life pre-WWI. I love the almost-excessive description that Orwell rambles through, in regards to life before WWI. It's very funny, and -- although the end seems a bit thrown together -- a very good read.