The Berlin Stories: The Last of Mr. Norris & Goodbye To Berlin
First published in the 1930s, The Berlin Stories contains two astonishing related novels, The Last of Mr. Norris and Goodbye to Berlin,
which are recognized today as classics of modern fiction. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues and cafés; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers;
dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powe
Book one follows the narrator (presumably the author) on a trip from his native England, on the train, to Berlin, where he shares a berth with the odd, yet intriguing Arthur Norris. The story explores...more
It's not as dark as so much pre-WWII writing is. That's because most pre-WWII writing was written post-WWII and takes a look at the oncoming darkness head-on. With Isherwood it really seeps in so slowly you don't notice.
It is a very youthful book, full of the kind of blase naivete that is...more
This book gives an overview of Berlin during the early 30's. What's interesting is that it was written during that period (first published in 1935) and not form the eyes of a German, but an Englishman. I think this is quite paramount, as most of the time a outer witness can provide with a more impartial description of events.
In some of the stories Isherwood de...more
A chronicle of Berlin in 1932- 34 and the precursory atmosphere that would lead into the offical sanctioning of genocide which was the establishment of Nazi Germany.The works are diary excerpts and accounts of interactions with accquaintances published retrosp...more
I bought this book at Fully Booked Greenhills at its full price (less than US$20) at postponed reading it for sometime. When On...more
I mean, I'm sure plenty of older books are dry and boring, but this one was scintillating and sultry and compelling and great.
What I have missed, however, have been books that deal with Germany post WWI during the 20's and the early 30's before the Nazi's took hold. The dynamics in Germany during that time are fascinating. They had an explosion...more
Sally Bowles, who shows up in the second book, is by far the most engaging character in the book and truly a joy to read with an energy and laissez faire attitude seen in few characters. The closest parallel I can think of would be Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
Apparently the real life woman Sally Bowles was based upon was not nearly as frivol...more
Now, 17 years later it was bittersweet to read the thoughts and emotions of the young and impressionable Bradshaw, who we understand to be Isherwood, in “The Las...more
The first book, Mr. Norris Changes Trains is something of a mystery novel. There is so much about Mr. Norris that is not revealed and Isherwood writes about him in such a way as to keep the reader wondering just who or what Mr. Norris is. This is all set in the backdrop of political turmoil in Germany - the fall of governments, the birth of the Nazis, the...more
At first I was tempted to say it was the c...more
The first person speaking allows the narrator to transport the reader in the midst of these historical events, while keeping an eye on the personal stories of the characters whom he meets along his way.
A remarkable feature of this book, which is...more
The first novel, "Mr. Norris Changes...more
But there is so more than just that in The Berlin Stories. In fact, Sally is only in about 15% of the novel. What we do get amazing character studies like Fräulein Schroeder, who is so well wr...more
Re-reading this again with a queer sub-text as well as a much more informed background knowledge of Is...more
Christopher Isherwood turns an unflinching eye on Berlin from 1930-1933. It is a diary of his stay and the cross-section of society he encounters as he roams between his lodgings in a claustrophobic hovel to the hedonist dens around the city. Both the people and the scenery are described with such magnification...more
Isherwood was the grandson and heir of a country squire, and his boyhood was privile...more