Tuesday, April 19, 2011

"The Past is a Curious Thing"

It might sound intellectually shallow of me, but I decided to read "COMING UP FOR AIR" by GEORGE ORWELL because of its suspected influence on a KINKS album.
In his book-length assessment of "THE KINKS ARE THE VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY," rock writer ANDY MILLER points out numerous thematic parallels to the 1939 Orwell novel.

I wish I had stumbled upon "Coming Up for Air" much sooner.

Orwell explores memory, nostalgia and middle age in his novel about an insurance salesman's efforts to revisit his small hometown.

Orwell writes:

"The past is a curious thing. It's with you all the time, I suppose an hour never passes without your thinking of things that happened 10 or 20 years ago, and yet most fo the time it's got no reality, it's just a set of facts that you've learned, like a lot of stuff in a history book. Then some chance sight or sound or smell, especially smell, sets you going, and the past doesn't merely come back to you, you're actually in the past."

"Coming Up for Air" is one of those books filled with passages so eloquent and memorable that I've been scribbling them down.

"Sometimes when you come out of a train of thought you feel as if you were coming up from deep water," Orwell writes.

That's brilliant.

I have read "ANIMAL FARM" and "NINETEEN EIGHTY-FOUR" several times. I cannot believe it's taken me this long to read "Coming Up for Air." It might be my favorite of the lot.


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