A former Russian soldier in his mid-thirties, Boris and Orwell became friends at a Paris hospital where Boris was being treated for arthritis. Once attractive and a model of masculine strength, Boris is now obese from being bedridden with arthritis. Since he is a natural soldier, his happiest days (those of combat) are behind him. Nonetheless, despite the pain he suffers, he is endlessly optimistic and is always coming up with schemes to better his and Orwell’s situation. The two men live together in destitution for a time, bickering over small matters, and then, thanks to Boris, they eventually find work at the Hotel X and later at the Auberge. After Orwell leaves Paris for London, he hears that Boris has finally achieved his dream of making 100 francs a day as a waiter and living with a woman “who never smells of garlic.”
Boris Quotes in Down and Out in Paris and London
The Down and Out in Paris and London quotes below are all either spoken by Boris or refer to Boris. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Mariner Books edition of Down and Out in Paris and London published in 1972.).
Chapter 5 Quotes
Chapter 9 Quotes
Appearance—appearance is everything, mon ami. Give me a new suit and I will borrow a thousand francs by dinner-time.
Boris Character Timeline in Down and Out in Paris and London
The timeline below shows where the character Boris appears in Down and Out in Paris and London. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...manager will appear. When he doesn’t, they make their way to the new Russian restaurant Boris mentioned earlier, but it’s closed. Boris says they should consider turning to crime, but both... (full context)
...publisher scolds Orwell for not bringing a load of washing with him as a cover. Boris, the publisher, and the journalist speak in Russian while Orwell imagines their discussion is like... (full context)
...decorates the walls with erotic art. Orwell thinks the patron is dishonest and incapable, but Boris, as usual, is optimistic. He’s confident that once the restaurant opens in two weeks, he’ll... (full context)