Coming Up For Air
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Coming Up for Air looks back from the sprawl of thirties housing estates, new arterial roads and the domination of the motor-car, to an idealised golden England, largely rural and unmechanised when, in the nostalgia of childhood, it was ‘summer. . . always summer’. It looks forward to the destruction wrought by air-raids (though written in 1938-1939, war is expected in 1941) leading to ‘The world we’re going down into, the kind of hate-world, slogan-world. . the rubber truncheons. . the posters with enormous faces’ that will be Nineteen Eighty-Four. Yet, despite its sense of loss and its grim foreboding, Coming Up For Air is a very funny book, with a rich sense of the incongruity of life and people, and it is illuminated by Orwell’s wry, sardonic wit in which there is not a little self-parody.