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Keep The Aspidistra Flying

My notes tell me I finished George Orwell's Keep The Aspidistra Flying in March of this year.

Orwell wrote it in the 1930s, so in the dark years before World War II.


The central character is a would-be poet hell-bent on self-destruction who works in an advertising agency. He hates life always kowtowing to money and he describes London in the evening as a vision of hell.

He quits his job and works in a second-hand book store on lower wages. He reviles the customers and he sinks into poverty. He wants to sink to be with the people who have no hope of rising or desire to rise.

He wants to get comfortable in poverty as the only way not to give in against the money that controls everything respectable and aspiring.

His long-time girlfriend gets pregnant and he gets back his job at the ad agency. He tells himself he always knew he wouldn't go the whole way and sink completely.

He learns to listen to the music of time and join in the human race.

The Buddha said something along those lines - of how he had starved himself in an effort to find enlightenment, but all he had got was thin and unhealthy.

Thinking about this idea of self-denial, I wrote in 2010

He said, “I cut up the cushion of my dreams.”
The other replied, “Yes, but why do you sit in such a hard place? This also is an illusion.”

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