May 30, 2015
The 6/1/15 issue of the New York Times Book Review includes an extremely generous review of Burning Down George Orwell’s House.
“‘Burning Down George Orwell’s House’ is a sweet book full of delights. Since many of its best passages are rhapsodies on single malt whiskies, one is tempted to call it a wee bonny dram of a tale.” –Christopher Buckley, New York Times Book Review
May 19, 2015
On May 13, Maureen Corrigan of NPR’s program “Fresh Air” reviewed Burning Down George Orwell’s House. She said:
“[A]s all good comedies do, Ervin’s novel contains a sober question at its core — in this case, whether the idea of ‘escape’ itself is just another manipulation sold to us ‘proles’ by the very same wired world that engulfs and exhausts us. Take a wild guess what George Orwell would say.”
You can read and listen to her review here.
May 7, 2015
The New York Post named Burning Down George Orwell’s House one of its “must-read” books. That can be seen here.
“A satire of a satire? Ervin’s debut novel introduces us to Ray Welter, fictional Chicago ad man in existential crisis, who drops out to the Scottish isle of Jura — to rent the cottage where the father of modern satire wrote most of ‘1984.’ His plans involve a little bit of moping and a lot of the local single malt. Big Brother might not be watching him, but the island’s eccentric locals sure are and also, possibly, a werewolf. High comedy ensues as Welter tries to find himself, Orwell and the savage beast.”
Kyle Minor was kind enough to interview me for Tin House. Here’s an excerpt:
“George Orwell has become the patron saint of paranoia, which is understandable given the utter prescience and genius of Nineteen Eighty-Four. That there exists a reality TV show called Big Brother about people being watched around the clock is both grotesque and perfect. I can’t open the newspaper—and I still get one delivered every day—without reading at least one superficial reference to thoughtcrimes or memory holes or Newspeak. What’s missing from the Orwell-this and Orwell-that commentary is the fact the he wrote things other than Nineteen Eighty-Four. The term ‘Orwellian’ refers to one aspect of one novel, albeit a profoundly great and important one.”
“In Burning Down George Orwell’s House, Ervin has achieved something uniquely refreshing: a book that shows the taste and restraint to pay knowing, affectionate and humorous tribute to George Orwell without trying to prove him right—or to create some redundant simulacrum of his work. That’s no knock on other writers and pundits perceptive enough to identify unsettling echoes of Nineteen Eighty-Four in our contemporary society. But if Burning Down George Orwell’s House demonstrates one thing, it’s that some Orwellians are more equal (to the task) than others.”
The full review is here.