'Burmese Days' by George Orwell

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Reviews, recommendations, books to avoid. What have you been reading?

'Burmese Days' by George Orwell

Postby Sprocket » February 20th, 2013, 12:19 pm

As I mentioned in 'Current Reading', I'm re-reading all of Orwell's books, in order of publication. Having knocked off 'Down and Out in Paris and London' in three days (you could easily read it in one: it's quite short), I'm now nearly at the end of 'Burmese Days'. Having not read it since about 1970, I'd forgotten a great deal, though certain bits remained in my memory, such as the monstrous figure of U Po Kyin, the immensely fat and utterly corrupt Sub-Divisional Magistrate, who, we're told, never swung a court decision in return for a bribe, because he knew he'd be found out; instead, he took bribes from both sides, and decided the case on strictly legal grounds. He ruins hundreds of people's lives without a qualm, but as with Shakespeare's Richard III, the way he positively delights in doing evil makes him a strangely attractive figure, in a demonic sort of way.
The book is very readable, but is clearly something of a 'prentice-piece, with some marked stylistic faults: Orwell does too much telling and not enough showing, and Elizabeth Lackersteen, the young woman the hero, Flory, has got the hots for, is revealed much too soon to be shallow and vulgar: it should have emerged gradually. Still, jolly readable.
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Re: 'Burmese Days' by George Orwell

Postby Andrew L » March 11th, 2013, 5:41 pm

I too have recently re-read it after abut 30 years.

It struck me this time that there are parallells with A passage to india by E M Forster.
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Re: 'Burmese Days' by George Orwell

Postby Sprocket » March 11th, 2013, 6:05 pm

Yes - I read 'A Passage to India' many years ago, and as I recall that too concerns a rather clumsy affair between a couple of Brits out East, and a false accusation against a native, like 'BD'.
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