Burmese Days (Paperback)

Burmese Days By George Orwell Cover Image
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He had grasped the truth about the English and their Empire. The Indian Empire is a despotism—benevolent, no doubt, but still a despotism with theft as its final object.

Burmese Days is a novel set in the waning days of the British Empire, focusing on a handful of insular, small-minded Englishmen (including the fascinatingly complex and contradictory character of James Flory,) all living in a small settlement in Upper Burma, where they congregate in the European Club, drinking whiskey and arguing over an impending order to admit a token “native”, an emblematic depiction of the dying days of the Raj. It is George Orwell’s first novel and draws heavily on his experience in the Imperial Police in Burma, which instils the novel with a sense of resonance and depth, while also revealing the dark underbelly of British imperialism (published in 1934, first in the United States, then later in England where it was feared it would be considered libelous.)  The novel perfectly captures the suffocating insularity of the remote British outpost, and the stultifying atmosphere of “the club,” and its harsh portrayal of British colonial rule succeeds as great social commentary, showing the powerful pressure a system can exert on the isolated dissident. Burmese Days also succeeds as a great novel—fast-paced, with intrigue and adventure, with evocative descriptions of place, and dead-on observations of human behavior. Orwell himself said, "I wanted to write enormous naturalistic novels with unhappy endings, full of detailed descriptions and arresting similes…and in fact, Burmese Days is rather that kind of book.” Ed loved and highly recommends!

— Ed


Honest and evocative, George Orwell’s first novel is an examination of the debasing effect of empire on occupied and occupier.

Burmese Days focuses on a handful of Englishmen who meet at the European Club to drink whisky and to alleviate the acute and unspoken loneliness of life in 1920s Burma—where Orwell himself served as an imperial policeman—during the waning days of British imperialism.

One of the men, James Flory, a timber merchant, has grown soft, clearly comprehending the futility of England’s rule. However, he lacks the fortitude to stand up for his Indian friend, Dr. Veraswami, for admittance into the whites-only club. Without membership and the accompanying prestige that would protect the doctor, the condemning and ill-founded attack by a bitter magistrate might bring an end to everything he has accomplished. Complicating matters, Flory falls unexpectedly in love with a newly arrived English girl, Elizabeth Lackersteen. Can he find the strength to do right not only by his friend, but also by his conscience?

About the Author

GEORGE ORWELL (1903–1950) was born in India and served with the Imperial Police in Burma before joining the Republican Army in the Spanish Civil War. Orwell was the author of six novels, including 1984 and Animal Farm, as well as numerous essays and nonfiction works.

Praise For…

“This is a superior novel, not less so because it tells an absorbing story. Orwell has made his people and his background vividly real. And he knows of what he writes." — New York Times

“A well integrated, fast moving story.” — Chicago Tribune

Product Details
ISBN: 9780156148504
ISBN-10: 0156148501
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: March 20th, 1974
Pages: 288
Language: English