The Next Chapter

Musician Jon Landry on his favourite George Orwell book

Musician Jon Landry of The Stanfields explains why a lesser-known Orwell novel is one of his favourite books.
Jon Landry of The Stanfields says George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying is one of his favourire reads. (KT Lamond/Penguin Canada)

Jon Landry plays in the Nova Scotia band The Stanfields. One of his favourite books is George Orwell's Keep the Aspidistra Flying, which he says he can really relate to. He tells The Next Chapter why that is:

It's a book about a young man named Gordon Comstock, who was a copywriter in 1930s London, and he decides that he's going to declare war on the money god and become somebody who suffers for his art. He is a poet and he decides he's going to live in poverty so his art can speak directly through him. Throughout the story he's trying to court this girl named Rosemary, and of course without money he can't go out on dates, he can't take her to nice places, so he blames this on not having money rather than blaming it on his pride and his ego.

I think that the biggest thing I took from the story is that I don't think you should have to suffer to pursue your art. I lived through that as a younger man, working at fast food restaurants and trying to write music, and when I got over that, that's when I started to understand who I was — when I was able to live in relative comfort. That's the moral of this whole story — in the end he comes around and goes back to his copywriting job and he actually is able to follow through with his dreams.

Jon Landry's comments have been edited and condensed.