Monday, October 22, 2007

1984 Circa 2007

I mentioned in a past post how Christopher Hitchens, the author of Why Orwell Matters, claimed in an interview that sales of Orwell's books always rise in times of strife and conflict, because his message in 1984, Animal Farm, and Homage to Catalonia is perpetually relevant. When I looked online at Amazon ranking for 1984, I was disappointed to find this wasn't true.

Over the weekend The New York Times ran front page story on the current situation in the country, and Orwell made an appearance in the third paragraph:

“It’s not peace you see here, it’s silence; it’s a forced silence,” said a 46-year-old writer who joined last month’s protests in Yangon and was now on the run, carrying with him a worn copy of his favorite book, George Orwell’s “1984.” “We are the military’s slaves. We want democracy. We want to wait no longer. But we are afraid of their guns.”

This prompted me to recheck sales of the book over the last few weeks, and they indeed have risen. Hitchens may be right after all, which feels like good and bad news.

The pseudonymous Emma Larkin, author of Finding George Orwell in Burma, has been writing a lot about current events, and was back in-country recently. There's an interesting thread here too.

No comments: