Jonathan Derbyshire

Down & Out



Harvill Secker 520pp £20 order from our bookshop

When he reviewed Nineteen Eighty-Four for the New Statesman, V S Pritchett identified among the sources of George Orwell’s ‘material’ not just the depredations of Stalinist terror, but also the ‘seediness of London in the worst days of the war’ – the ‘pockets of 19th-century life in decaying England, the bad flats, bad food, the whining streak of domestic sluttishness which have sickened English satirists since Smollett’. 

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