Reviews — From the October 2012 issue

Double Vision

George Orwell

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Discussed in this essay: Diaries, by George Orwell. Edited by Peter Davison. Liveright. 597 pages. $39.95. wwnorton.com. It is August 19, 1947. George Orwell has retired to Jura, a remote Scots island, to obtain the solitude he deems necessary to complete Nineteen Eighty-Four. Good weather and visiting relatives have strengthened the host’s desire for a fishing excursion, so Orwell and five guests board a dinghy, apparently without the life jackets sailors are repeatedly reminded to wear. Before they begin their journey, a worrywart among them asks Orwell whether he has checked the tide tables, and he airily remarks, “Oh, yes, …

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is a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine. His next book, Middle C,is forthcoming from Knopf in March.

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