‘Outside my work the thing I care most about is gardening’ wrote George Orwell in 1940.
Inspired by the surviving roses that Orwell planted in his cottage in Hertfordshire, Rebecca Solnit explores how his involvement with plants illuminates his other commitments as a writer and anti-fascist, and the intertwined politics of nature and power. Following his journey from the coal mines of England to taking up arms in the Spanish Civil War; from his critique of Stalin to his analysis of the relationship between lies and authoritarianism, Solnit encounters a more hopeful Orwell, whose love of nature pulses through his work and actions.
‘Exhilarating . . . I loved this book.’ Margaret Atwood
‘This book is brilliant because it is true.’ James Rebanks
An Extraordinary Ordinary Bloke
The Orwell of the essays has a pungent literary personality. He’s dauntingly knowledgeable, decided in his views and trenchant in their expression, a non-sufferer of fools, an enemy of pretension...Read more
I have a Russian wife. We work together – articles, talks, translations, books, to keep the wolf from the door. Sometimes, when a bigger than usual energy bill slides through the letterbox, or the...Read more
The Road to Room 101
Every time I go into one of those old-fashioned second-hand bookshops – the ones with rows of leather-bound copies of Punch and shelves full of long-expired novels and the sweet smell of decaying...Read more
The Nightmare of Room 101
It was a bright cold day in April and the clocks were striking thirteen. That first arresting sentence of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four transports us immediately into a world that is real enough...Read more
All Washed Up
Many years ago, when I was in my early twenties, I lived in Copenhagen where I was registered with the Foreign Ministry as correspondent for The Times. But I made my living washing dishes. The paper...Read more
In November 1922, George Orwell (or Eric Blair, as he was then) arrived in Burma, to take up a post with the Indian Imperial Police. He was 19, not long out of Eton, which he had attended on a...Read more