George Orwell was one of the greatest writers England produced in the last century. He left an enduring mark on our language and culture, with concepts such as 'Big Brother' and 'Room 101.' His reputation rests not only on his political shrewdness and his sharp satires (Animal Farm and Nineteen Eighty-Four) but also on his marvellously clear style and superb essays, which rank with the best ever written. Gordon Bowker's new biography, written to coincide with Orwell's centenary, includes fascinating new material which brings his life into unfamiliar focus. He 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 remarkable new evidence of his experiences in Spain and their nightmarish consequences. It also offers a fresh look at his peculiar deathbed marriage to a woman fifteen years his junior.
All this has enabled Bowker to give Orwell's life a brilliantly fresh and distinctive interpretation.