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George Orwell
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Gordon Bowker's biography, written to coincide with Orwell's centenary, includes material which brings the writer's life into unfamiliar focus. Bowker writes revealingly about Orwell's family background; the lasting influence of Eton on his work and character; his superstitious streak and youthful flirtation with black magic; and his chaotic and reckless sex life, which included at least one homoerotic relationship. It highlights the strange circumstances of his first marriage and provides evidence of his experiences in Spain and their nightmarish consequences. It also offers a fresh look at his peculiar deathbed marriage to a woman 15 years his junior.
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* Review round-ups in the national press

About the Author

Gordon Bowker has written highly acclaimed biographies of Malcolm Lowry (a New York Times Recommended Book of the Year) and Lawrence Durrell, and articles and reviews for the Observer, the Sunday Times, the New York Times and the Times Literary Supplement.

Reviews

The 2003 centenary of Orwell's birth inspired a spate of major new studies, including Bowker's biography, which may well be the best full-scale study of the writer's life to date. Bowker probes deeply to find the inner man and draws on a number of important sources not used by earlier biographers. The picture of Orwell that emerges is a complex and often troubling one, with compelling evidence that he was both a misogynist and a compulsive womanizer and that he had a deep sadistic streak. However, while these revelations knock some of the luster off Orwell's saintly image, they do not diminish the greatness of the man, and Bowker does a masterful job of showing how Orwell's very human flaws informed his work. Christopher Kay's narration is generally very good and would be even better if he didn't try to give individual voices to every quoted passage. An important work, worthy of adoption in all general collections.-Kent Rasmussen, Thousand Oaks, CA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

'An exhilaratingly crowded book' - Independent 'Invaluable... superb and fascinating biography' - Evening Standard 'Bowker's biography is that of a scholar... he has the ability to select the right detail and let it speak for itself' - Sunday Telegraph 'Magisterial' - Daily Mail

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