Keep the Aspidistra Flying | George Orwell
256 pages | Mariner Books
Writing in his best satirical vein, Orwell tells the story of Gordon Comstock, a poor young man who works by day in a grubby London bookstore and spends his evenings shivering in a rented room, trying to write. He is determined to stay free of the "money world" of lucrative jobs, family responsibilities, and the kind of security symbolized for him by the homely, indestructible potted aspidistra that stands in every middle-class British window. His sweetheart, Rosemary, understands him and is patient with his pride and the pretensions of his poverty. But then, as happens with lovers, events overtake them.
Despite its poignancy and merciless wit, hope does break through in this book's upbeat ending - a tribute to the stubborn virtues of ordinary people, who keep the aspidistra flying.