Friday, September 30, 2011

Weak eyes are fondest of glittering objects.


Puddle on Quayle Street. Sandy Bay. September 2011.

I reckon that I have read George Orwell’s Animal Farm at least a half-dozen times. Indeed, I have studied and taught the bugger at University! Thus, writing this review should be relatively straightforward.

An allegorical short novel first published in 1945 (although written in 1943–44), the book alludes to the Russian Revolution, the Western invasion of Soviet Russia in 1918, the Russian Civil War and the strengthening of Stalin before World War II. The novel explores the corruption of revolutionary ideals by its leaders but also how indifference, ignorance and myopia of the people undermine any possibility of a Utopia.

Orwell's achievement is immense with this book, the best introduction to the political history of the Soviet Union 1917-1943 [all achieved with pigs, horses, sheep and other assorted animals]. A top read, and always one that leaves me regretting that he never had the chance to do a sequel that explored the post-Stalinist era (and beyond). Highly recommended.

2 comments:

smudgeon said...

I find it very hard to pick a favourite Orwell. So I have 5 favourites on equal footing, although Animal Farm is definitely my favourite post-revolution-era-Soviet-Russian-allegory (with pigs).

And it never fails to makes me sad when Boxer goes down.

Kris said...

Animal Farm has a uncomplicated appeal that I struggle to think of a peer. Most of his work is great though. Tremendous writer.