Keep the Aspidistra Flying
A review of Keep the Aspidistra Flying by Rob Mason
Keep the Aspidistra Flying, first published 1936, is a socially critical novel by George Orwell. It is set in 1930s London. The main theme is the protagonist's romantic ambition to give up money and status.
The aspidistra is a common plant used decoratively. Orwell uses the plant to symbolize commoners, the lower class, of society. To keep them flying is to maintain their pride, to raise the value of common man from the soil to the sky.
A film adaptation of Keep the Aspidistra Flying was released in 1997, directed by Robert Bierman, and starring Richard E. Grant and Helena Bonham Carter. The film appeared in North America and New Zealand under the alternative title of A Merry War.