You don’t get to choose your literary heroes

From The Guardian:

Orwell_2 Leisurely unpacking books after moving house is one of my most indulgent, and dusty, pleasures. As the books have a tendency to distract me from finishing the job, it can take any amount of time to complete the task. At the bottom of a box that contained a novel, never finished, with a train ticket bookmark telling its own story and a bunch of foxed paperbacks, I found something I’d assumed I’d lost long ago: a battered copy of George Orwell’s Keep the Aspidistra Flying. I sat down on the floor and began to read, transported back to 1930s London and 1990s Congleton.

I must have read Orwell’s third novel at least a dozen times between 1990 and 1992, and it changed me. Or more specifically, the central character, Gordon Comstock, changed me. Despite Comstock being arrogant, self-delusional, bitter and cynical, there was something about him that made sense – even when Orwell’s novel does not. Comstock is a prematurely aged twenty-something, who has quit his job in advertising to work part time in a bookstore while he writes his magnum opus, London’s Pleasures. There he rails against the Money God, shaking his fist at the capitalist west. Despite family, friends and a woman who loves him, he seems determined to throw his life away in an egotistical show of his own rejection of middle-class values.

More here.