Keep the Aspidistra Flying – Orwell

Without a doubt, no other book has had such a deep effect on me as this one. Another masterpiece by George Orwell, although due to publishers meddling with it, he doesn’t like it himself. Keep the Aspidistra Flying is a novel about a man (stubborn idealist) who despises our greedy society, where we have come to worship the Money God above all else. He attempts to reject society on this principle and then struggles to live a dismal life without it. Although quite possibly unintentionally, this is a deeply existential novel that spells out all too clearly the absurdity of attempting to reject capitalism without being rejected by society.

The reason this novel had such an effect on me was probably that it came at a time when I was beginning to see the inescapability of the ‘rat race’. What Orwell does is paint a clear picture of both sides; how isolating our greedy capitalist society can be, and equally how isolating the rejection of it is. As always, Orwell excels at creating characters so lifelike, that we as the reader has no choice but to live vicariously through them; learning truth from their philosophy, and prudence from their stubbornness and idealism.

Quote me on it:

“The only way to escape the Money God, is to win by its rules”

TL;DR:

  • Inescapability of Capitalism
  • Exploration of Money and Idealism
  • No lovable characters
  • Orwell’s mastery of clear and simple writing

Other good existential reads along this line:

  • Nausea by Jean-Paul Satre
  • Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky

sebastiankade

Sebastian Kade, Founder of Sumry and Author of Living Happiness, is a software designer and full-stack engineer. He writes thought-provoking articles every now and then on sebastiankade.com

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