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Extended Audio Sample Keep the Aspidistra Flying, 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 (4,697 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: George Orwell Narrator: Richard Brown Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2012 ISBN: 9781455170081
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Gordon Comstock is a poor young man who works by day in a grubby London bookstore and spends his evenings shivering in a rented room, trying to write. Gordon has published a slim volume of verse and is determined to keep free of the “money world” of safe, lucrative jobs, marriage, and family responsibilities. This world, to Gordon, spells the end of art and aspidistra, the homely, indestructible house plant that stands in every middle-class British window.

Gordon’s sweetheart, Rosemary, understands him: she is patient with his pride and lack of funds. But then, as it happens with all lovers, events overtake them.

Orwell’s picture of the “money world,” as Gordon sees it, is in his best satirical vein.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Gritty, growling, commonsensical and touching.  [Orwell] never wrote a basically kinder or more human novel.”

    Time

  •  “A remarkable novel...A summa of all the criticisms of a commercial civilization that have ever been made.”

    Lionel Trilling

  • “A delightful addition to the Orwell literature…A work Orwell enthusiasts will bracket with Down and Out in Paris and London.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Richard Brown reads in a clear voice and effectively captures the rhythms of the text.”

    Library Journal

  • A BuzzFeed Books Pick of 49 Underrated Books You Really Need to Read

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amanda LeDixon | 2/3/2014

    " I don't know what it is about this book, but it reminds me of my brother. I loved it. There is something very pure about it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Darren Lyle | 2/3/2014

    " After reading Down and Out in Paris and London, which is non-fiction, it was fascinating reading this fiction book. Orwell explores poverty, and what it does to people, in a very compelling and interesting way. Very impressed with both books! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ami | 2/1/2014

    " Highly recommended for those who seek the "artsy" lifestyle and soon thereafter, realize the true struggles associated with it. Also recommended for aspiring writers, as it chronicles the tale of one. "

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

    " Magnificent book. I instantly related to it, definitely recommend. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Katy | 1/30/2014

    " Sometimes a book can move you and this is one of those books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jesse Hebert | 1/26/2014

    " Leave it to Orwell to get a RIGHT PROPER reaction out of you! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jo Brand | 1/21/2014

    " It's refreshing to read a book with such an unlikable protagonist. At times i wanted to reach in an give him a whack to help bring him to his senses. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Beenie | 1/19/2014

    " The feeling of the last paragraph of 1984 stretched across an entire book. Massively depressing for nothing. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chas Bayfield | 1/18/2014

    " Well written but dreary and depressing tale of lower middle class strivers. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sujash Purna | 1/13/2014

    " Amazing book! Really liked how Gordon Comstock finally gives in to Money-god at the end of the book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ande | 1/12/2014

    " Money, money, money. I got sick of the protagonist whining, but still somehow found myself flipping pages. Maybe I like Orwell's humor, maybe because I'm still not sure what I think about this book. I don't know if I found a redeeming quality in either the protagonist or the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shanna | 1/7/2014

    " My favorite Orwell. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Theresa | 12/21/2013

    " a dry, sarcastic, honest, brilliant, hilarious look at what people want, who they want to be and who they really are. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz M | 11/7/2013

    " Orwell does a far-too-good job creating a mood and putting the reader inside the character's world. The description of the grinding monotony of poverty was just too monotonous. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 10/18/2013

    " Youthful angst and pot plants. A heady mixture. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darrenl | 10/14/2013

    " A savage look at poverty but also darkly amusing at times. The character of Gordon Comstock is one of my all time favourites. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ryan | 10/13/2013

    " Interesting book about a man and his war against money. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 10/8/2013

    " Really enjoyed this book. Orwell fan? Then you'll love it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 William | 10/6/2013

    " Read in 00's. Listen as audio book in 2012. Read by Richard E. Grant and he did a amazingly great job. best audio ever :-) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelly Ambrose | 8/5/2013

    " A great read for anyone who had ever felt financial struggle. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mayra Hernandez Rios | 5/31/2013

    " I love George Orwell's books 1984 and Animal Farm, and this one was good as well, yet it felt kinda slow... Then again, it has very interesting points, mainly going around money... And well, it's a good story! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jim | 5/24/2013

    " George Orwell's take on middle class aspirations, or should that be "aspidistrations", in English suburbia before the Second World War. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Artemis Eclectica | 9/5/2012

    " Now this is a writer. Written in 1935, it was already obvious to Orwell that there was to be a second World War. Beautifully descriptive in all it's bleak hilarity. Excruciatingly funny book. Now I know where 'minging' came from! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Chris Watkins | 6/10/2012

    " Orwell's profound understanding of people is on display. Not as tightly written nor as dramatic as his later work, it takes a more leisurely pace that allows him to express himself in a more open way. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jackmcintyre3 | 4/27/2012

    " Awful. So depressing and self-indulgent. I consider myself an Orwell fan, but this one is to be avoided. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen Conti | 4/15/2012

    " I loved this book... Gordon Comstock is the hero you love to hate or hate to love... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rj | 3/5/2012

    " I was Gordon Comstock. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Adrian | 1/11/2012

    " Definitley a very entertaining but the character in it was a stubborn asshole. (Spoiler to follow) I also really didn't like it how he conforms to the work world at the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sujash Purna | 1/7/2012

    " Amazing book! Really liked how Gordon Comstock finally gives in to Money-god at the end of the book! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Darren | 6/17/2011

    " After reading Down and Out in Paris and London, which is non-fiction, it was fascinating reading this fiction book. Orwell explores poverty, and what it does to people, in a very compelling and interesting way. Very impressed with both books! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Steve | 4/28/2011

    " I, as a young loon, shared a few oddly harmless traits of personality with Gordon Comstock, this book's protagonist. Gordon is the only character I've met in all of literature displaying these particular oddities. Well, what are they? Who cares? Clue! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rachel | 3/21/2011

    " I didn't like this so much as some of the other Orwell novels I've been reading, I found Gordon rather irritating to be honest. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Stephen | 1/31/2011

    " Really enjoyed this book. Orwell fan? Then you'll love it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tim | 1/22/2011

    " I liked the book and loathed Gordon Comstock - views on socialism were amusing "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Naomi | 1/18/2011

    " Excellent. I had to wait for someone one day and so bought a penguin $10 copy of this book. I had no great expectation of the book and was delighted to find that it was riveting. I was quite sad to put it away when my wait was over. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 12/13/2010

    " I had trouble with the star rating on this one, because although it was well written, it was so depressing and the character infuriated me!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darrenl | 12/10/2010

    " A savage look at poverty but also darkly amusing at times. The character of Gordon Comstock is one of my all time favourites. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heather | 9/29/2010

    " I quite enjoyed it. The ending was a bit surprising, but not altogether unexpected. Well written and beautifully vivid. One of my favourite Orwell novels, I think! "

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