George Orwell returns…down and out
I’ve highlighted Orwell’s six rules for writing ‘when instinct fails’ today over on the creative writing post so I thought I would mention a new novel about his life – or rather his after life. I haven’t read Eric is Awake yet – I’ve got the paperback on order – but Orwell’s novels, his journalism and his essays are important to me so I was intrigued when I discovered that Dom Shaw’s novel was about the great man being reborn down and out in Islington – the part of North London Orwell made his home.
And today – only today – it is free to download HERE
This is the blurb that persuaded me to pay out good money for it: if it also tempts you to download it perhaps we can share impressions later…
Shortly after midnight on the 21st January 1950, the man known to his readers as George Orwell and to his new bride Sonia, as Eric Arthur Blair, breathes his last in a small side ward of the University College Hospital. Beside his bed, his bags are packed for a trip to Switzerland. He is alone and afraid. Shortly after midnight on the 21st January 20–, in a country with 4.2 million CCTV devices – one for every 14 people in the country, a security camera captures a homeless tramp with a high forehead and thin moustache, dying of hypothermia in an alley beside an Islington pub on a snowy winter night. As his dying breath vaporizes in the freezing air, he grows cold. The warm vapour of his final exhalation travels upwards to dissipate in the atmosphere, but instead, coalesces and descends again to the cold blue lips of the man lying in the alley. He takes a breath and the tramp’s body warms as a new occupant moves in. Eric is awake.
Ever thought about putting a real person into fiction?
If you didn’t want to be quite as up front as Eric is Awake, you could write a Roman à clef (that’s French for novel with a key). This is real life thinly disguised as fiction such as Primary Colors which was all about the Clintons or, indeed, Orwell’s own Animal Farm…