Top critical review
Superb writing, distressing story
Reviewed in the United States on January 25, 2013
George Orwell beautifully describes the setting, the climate and the characters (although I had to create my own cast of characters at first to keep the Englishmen straight in my mind), but I couldn't get past the depressing story. The English men (and the two women) were shallow, and prejudiced against the natives, and also cruel. It may have been an accurate description of the times (1920's), but it was difficult to accept that the colonists were so indifferent to the lives of the Burmese who worked for & served them. The main character, Flory, who supposedly cared for those natives he knew, wavered when it came to defending them against the cruelty of his countrymen who were stationed there. I can't fault Orwell's descriptions -- I came to feel that stifling and oppressive atmosphere, and the soul-sucking isolation. The ending is a real downer. If I hadn't been reading the book for a book club group, I don't know if I would have read to the end.