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Extended Audio Sample Coming Up for Air, by George Orwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,012 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Orwell Narrator: Richard Brown Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 his 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 is also 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 which will surprise and delight George Orwell’s many readers.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “A Charming, cheerful, minor masterpiece.”

    New York Times

  • “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.”

    New York Herald Tribune Book Review

  • “Many passages of lyrical beauty, not unbecoming a novelist who once aspired to be a poet.”

    Michael Sheldon, biographer

  • “Richard Brown reads Orwell’s tale clearly, rhythmically, and deliberately.”

    Library Journal

  • “Offers a nostalgic, sincere appreciation of a way of life that can never be again, and will prove something new for his followers.”


Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Marie | 2/13/2014

    " I won Coming Up for Air in a first-reads giveaway, this is a story about a daughter searching to find out who her mother was before she changed into the woman she grew up with. I can't describe it right now but the end of the book had such a personal affect on me. Perfect to snap me out of my funk. :) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Maureen | 2/11/2014

    " Received the Advance Readers' Edition through FirstReads. I wasn't sure what to expect from the summary, but found that I quickly fell in love with the main character and the entire story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Beth | 2/3/2014

    " I would give this book 4-stars if the ending wasn't so nonsensical. It held my interest until the last couple of chapters. There was this great build but the ending is so flat. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Sarah | 2/3/2014

    " When Ellie's mother dies, Ellie begins a journey to discover the past her mother had kept hidden. In doing so Ellie learns about a lost love, a difficult choice, and a warning for her own future. It's easy to give up your dreams and wishes for order and security, Ellie learns, so close to repeating her mother's mistakes. I liked this well written, thoughtful novel. "

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