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Publisher's Summary

Colonial politics in Kyauktada, India, in the 1920s, come to a head when the European Club, previously for whites only, is ordered to elect one token native member. The deeply racist members do their best to manipulate the situation, resulting in the loss not only of reputations but of lives.

Amid this cynical setting, timber merchant James Flory, a Brit with a genuine appreciation for the native people and culture, stands as a bridge between the warring factions. But he has trouble acting on his feelings, and the significance of his vote, both social and political, weighs on him. When Elizabeth Lackersteen arrives - blonde, eligible, and anti-intellectual - Flory finds himself the hapless suitor.

Orwell alternates between grand-scale political intrigue and nuanced social interaction, mining his own Colonial Indian heritage to create a monument of historical fiction.

George Orwell (1903–1950), the pen name of Eric Arthur Blair, was an English novelist, essayist, and critic. He was born in India and educated at Eton. After service with the Indian Imperial Police in Burma, he returned to Europe to earn his living by writing and became notable for his simplicity of style and his journalistic or documentary approach to fiction.

©1934 George Orwell (P)1992 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

“A well integrated, fast-moving story of what life was like in a remote backcountry Asiatic station.” (Chicago Tribune)

What listeners say about Burmese Days

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

A Sad, Fierce and Ambitious Colonial Novel

A sad, fierce and ambitious novel about the emptiness and loneliness of the waning days of the British Empire. It shows the ugliness and corruption of British class-based social structure, cultural bigotry and the harsh individual fantasies that are needed to keep the whole system afloat. It shows the future potential of Orwell, but lacks the restrained grace of his later novels. There are, however, definite glitters and shadows of both E.M. Forster and Joseph Conrad throughout. It is worth the listen for those interested in early Orwell or the decline of the post-WWI British Empire.

17 people found this helpful

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An impressive first novel

Orwell is a better artist than he is given credit for. For a first novel this is very impressive. The one obvious problem with it is the unrelentingly negative portrayal of people that dominates. He despises the British colonialists; and he has a jaundiced view of the native Burmese. The narrator, Frederick Davidson, has the right kind of voice for snobby colonialists, but I get tired of that voice sometimes.

2 people found this helpful

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Unforgettable story

Like any brilliant author, George Orwell was a keen observer of human nature. This book delivers a scathing insight—and consequently, a loathing condemnation of a decadent society crippled by both English imperialism and rampant racism. His repudiation of colonialism and its inherent injustices is aptly made clear. I highly recommend this very entertaining novel.

1 person found this helpful

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It is a good book, not a masterpiece

"Burmese days" is more reminiscent of Somerset Maugham than of Orwell, I think.

The pitiless dissection of the characters, of their ways and the vacuous reason which sets the plot in motion are what makes this book well worth listening to. The reference to Burma is almost incidental.

I was not overjoyed with the performance but possibly it is just me finding the voice of the narrator irksome.

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Worth the read

Typically Orwell and worth it if a fan of his work. Highly recommend to all.

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dramatic funny and real

Orwells magnum opus of the glory of the britisj raj at its height. joy and pain.

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Enjoyed the book, but probably won't recommend it

I enjoyed comparing Orwell's first book to his later works and seeing the influence from Huxley and his time in Burma, though there were were frequent, albeit slight, background noises.

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descent read

George Orwell is incredible to getting into the minds of people. Its surprising how little humans change with time and technology

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poetic

great peek into the colonial past of Myanmar. I love stened on the train from Mandalay to Katha where the story takes place.

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enter another world

orwell transports us to a sad and dying moment in world history. we can feel and smell the sweat, play the intriques,and know the players. take what you will. I take something different with every reading.
maugham is good. this is beyond excellent.