George Orwell

Inside George Orwell: A Biography - Gordon Bowker


This is a perceptive and well-written biography of a complex, eccentric and flawed man. Bowker does a great job coming to grips with his subject, whose life he details in straightforward chronological order. He occasionally engages in some unnecessary speculation of the "Orwell must have thought ..." variety, but not so often that it adversely affects his credibility as a biographer. Bowker's prose is clear and uncomplicated and if the list of sources is any indication his research appears to be thorough. This is a "warts and all" biography and although Orwell had plenty of warts to be revealed, Bowker conveys empathy for his subject without making excuses for his sometimes problematic behaviour.

In recent times I've fallen in love with Orwell's "window pane"* prose and have started working my way through his novels and his non-fiction. Reading this biography has given me insight into the man behind the writer. Highly recommended for Orwell fans.

*Orwell's description of what good prose should be like.