Big Brother House

Winston turned round abruptly. He had set his features into the expression of quiet optimism which it was advisable to wear when facing the telescreen. He crossed the room into the tiny kitchen. By leaving the Ministry at this time of day he had sacrificed his lunch in the canteen, and he was aware that there was no food in the kitchen except a hunk of dark-coloured bread which had got to be saved for tomorrow’s breakfast. He took down from the shelf a bottle of colourless liquid with a plain white label marked VICTORY GIN. It gave off a sickly, oily smell, as of Chinese rice-spirit. Winston poured nearly a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down like a dose of medicine.

–From Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell, completed sixty years ago this year and first published in 1949.

The image shows the very lovely new Penguin edition of Orwell’s novel, and a bottle of Victory Gin, available in the UK from Thresher’s off-licences. It’s not as bad as Winston Smith makes out.

Posted by Chris Routledge

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