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Extended Audio Sample Down and Out in Paris and London Audiobook, by George Orwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (17,136 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Orwell Narrator: Frederick Davidson Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2007 ISBN: 9781455170104
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Orwell’s own experiences inspire this semi-autobiographical novel about a penniless man living in Paris in the early 1930s. The narrator’s poverty brings him into contact with strange incidents and characters, which he manages to chronicle with great sensitivity and graphic power. The latter half of the book takes the English narrator to his home city, London, where the world of poverty is different in externals only.

A socialist who believed that the lower classes were the wellspring of world reform, Orwell actually went to live among them in England and on the continent. His novel draws on his experiences of this world, from the bottom of the echelon in the kitchens of posh French restaurants to the free lodging houses, tramps, and street people of London. In the tales of both cities, we learn some sobering Orwellian truths about poverty and society.

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Quotes & Awards

  •  “Excellent…a model of the realistic approach.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “The striking thing about Orwell as ‘a witness’ is that, while he experienced fully the sordid realities of his time, he remained miraculously uncontaminated…He retained a rebellious clarity of vision…graphic…and wryly amusing.”

    Atlantic Monthly

  • “The most lucid portrait of poverty in the English language…combines good narrative with wit, humor, and honest realism.”

    Nation

  • “Genuine, unexaggerated, and intelligent.”

    New Republic

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Paul | 2/20/2014

    " George Orwell's real life account's of living in poverty in Paris and London in the 1920's? i think. A great book and a real eye opener to the struggle of life some people have from finding work (16-20 hrs a day) to clothes and food and shelter. Quite brilliant, you will not see the homeless in a negative way again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Billie | 1/31/2014

    " Great read. Fascinating memoir about Orwell's life of a "tramp" roaming the streets of Paris and then London. Just so cool. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Zigger | 1/31/2014

    " My favorite Goerge Orwell book, hands down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 1/25/2014

    " One of my all time favourite books "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Justin | 1/16/2014

    " Sufficiently depressing. A quick and artful slog which takes abject poverty off my to-do list. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 david coleman | 1/15/2014

    " see comments on animal farm "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Misty | 1/12/2014

    " Excellent piece of literature. I don't recommend reading this if your country is amidst an economic recession and you are a mere struggling student. In that case, it's a bit of a downer haha "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deborah | 12/17/2013

    " Very interesting look at society from the view of those who have no money. Caution - after reading this book you will never eat in a French restaraunt again. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Andy South | 12/15/2013

    " If you ever feel you life is rubbish, you have no money & the worlds against you, read this to make you realise things in fact arent that bad! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eli | 12/9/2013

    " The way Orwell describes poverty is incredible, as if you're living it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Bettie | 12/4/2013

    " Now here's a book to make you look forward to a hot bath! Some of those scenes are beyond ... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeanette | 11/29/2013

    " I started out really loving this book...loved the characters and the discriptions...but as I read I found myself getting bored....I couldn't wait to finish just so I can start another read. I gave it three stars only because I really enjoyed the beginning..... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Renee | 11/19/2013

    " It's a different time, but it makes me feel different about seeing people in the streets. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ayesha | 10/19/2013

    " Interesting to know how homeless lives ! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Albert | 9/26/2013

    " A vivid personal account about the "fringes" of poverty and a timeless work of journalism. I was amazed at how many differences there are in the London and Paris episodes recounted here. Sadly, this seems like a work that will be perpetually relevant, even as politics and policies shift. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Misha | 5/25/2013

    " Excellent autobiographical novel about living in grimy poverty in 1920s Paris and London, emphasis on the grimy. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Delia | 5/7/2013

    " I just loved the descriptions of the kitchens, this one of those books I dug out of my father bookshelf a fell under the spell. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vasil Kolev | 11/19/2012

    " Not really one of his best books, but a great way to see what has shaped his thinking and later works. The extremely poor life in Paris and London that he has led is somewhat of an eye-opener. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Melissa | 12/16/2011

    " I love George Orwell. Love Love Love. This, I believe was his first book. Not as in your face political as 1984 and Animal Farm, but documents the working man's struggles. Being Down and Out. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean | 5/3/2011

    " Simply, one of my favorites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Milkman3367 | 4/19/2011

    " A vividly personal and unidealized tragicomedy about life 'on the edge' which encourages the reader to question his or her own biases. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Homer | 4/3/2011

    " Orwell berhasil menampilkan kehidupan kelas bawah di paris dan gelandangan di london. bukan karena dia pemerhati yang baik tapi karena dia mengalami sendiri kehidupan sulit di dua kota itu. novel ini bak sebuah karya jurnalistik, tajam dan pedas. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rogers | 4/3/2011

    " George Orwell experienced hard poverty, and wrote exceedingly well about it. His chapter on how extreme poverty cut a man off from normal relationships was something I never considered before. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 P. J. | 3/12/2011

    " Life under the wheels of society, as seen by a very articulate casual laborer. Probably a blend of fiction and non-fiction, but rich in social commentary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Vasil | 3/9/2011

    " Not really one of his best books, but a great way to see what has shaped his thinking and later works. The extremely poor life in Paris and London that he has led is somewhat of an eye-opener. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nancy | 3/2/2011

    " I listened to this book on a long drive across Oregon to Wyoming. While the topic is grim, the descriptions are so good you easily immerse yourself in the world Orwell describes. Knowing that this life was real for so many people, including, for a time, Orwell, makes it all the more engaging. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tristyn | 2/24/2011

    " Reading the Wikipedia article on this book, I realize this was, albeit engaging, a real-life enactment of "Common People"... "

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About the Author
Author George Orwell

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.

About the Narrator

Frederick Davidson (1932–2005), also known as David Case, was one of the most prolific readers in the audiobook industry, recording more than eight hundred audiobooks in his lifetime, including over two hundred for Blackstone Audio. Born in London, he trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and performed for many years in radio plays for the British Broadcasting Company before coming to America in 1976. He received AudioFile’s Golden Voice Award and numerous Earphones Awards and was nominated for a Grammy for his readings.