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Burning Down George Orwell's House (Hardcover)

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“Pouring a glass of whisky felt less like the right thing to do and more like the only thing to do (124).


In this fast-paced detour of a novel, Ray embraces the dream adventure to discover what it would be like to live on an island with no one around on a completely different level; moving to the island where the locals knew Orwell as Mr. Blair; where the locals don’t really want Ray there to sort himself out and there is a very distinct possibility that a werewolf roams the island.

The rich, piquant descriptions of the scotch will have you running off to research so you can enjoy a wee dram of your own. The humor and Ray’s misadventures on Jura will keep you reading.

— From Shannon's Picks


A darkly comic debut novel about advertising, truth, single malt, Scottish hospitality--or lack thereof--and George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Ray Welter, who was until recently a highflying advertising executive in Chicago, has left the world of newspeak behind. He decamps to the isolated Scottish Isle of Jura in order to spend a few months in the cottage where George Orwell wrote most of his seminal novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four. Ray is miserable, and quite prepared to make his troubles go away with the help of copious quantities of excellent scotch.

But a few of the local islanders take a decidedly shallow view of a foreigner coming to visit in order to sort himself out, and Ray quickly finds himself having to deal with not only his own issues but also a community whose eccentricities are at times amusing and at others downright dangerous. Also, the locals believe--or claim to believe--that there's a werewolf about, and against his better judgment, Ray's misadventures build to the night of a traditional, boozy werewolf hunt on the Isle of Jura on the summer solstice.

About the Author

Andrew Ervin grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and has lived in Budapest, Illinois, and Louisiana. He has a degree in philosophy and religion from Goucher College and completed his MFA in fiction at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His writing regularly appears in The New York Times Book Review, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Believer, Salon, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Philadelphia with his wife, flutist Elivi Varga. He is the author of Extraordinary Renditions, a collection of novellas. Burning Down George Orwell's House is his first novel.

Coverage from NPR

Product Details
ISBN: 9781616954949
ISBN-10: 1616954949
Publisher: Soho Press
Publication Date: May 5th, 2015
Pages: 288
Language: English