George Orwell’s account is not only a fascinating slice of life in Paris and London between the World Wars, but a gritty, witty account of poverty in any time.
What happens to travelers when they come to the end of their funds and have to take on work as a pot-washer in a hotel or (heaven forbid) review books they’ve never read for periodicals that no one reads?
Orwell, though not the first traveler to go through this trial by fire, is absolutely not the last.
His account, however, is the one that grabs me – that pulls me into the scene, impresses me with the noise and heat and dirt of the cities, the alleyways, the kitchens, and the seedy apartments inhabited by his characters.
Trust Orwell for one of the best historical travelogues ever written.
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