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The Memorial

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  125 ratings  ·  15 reviews
With The Memorial, Christopher Isherwood began his lifelong work of rewriting his own experiences into witty yet almost forensic portraits of modern society. Set in the aftermath of World War I, The Memorial portrays the dissolution of a tradition-bound English family. Cambridge student Eric Vernon finds himself torn between his desire to emulate his heroic father, who led ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published May 31st 2012 by Vintage (first published 1932)
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Isherwood's second novel, touted as the novel in which Isherwood becomes Isherwood, left me a little disappointed. I read A Single Man ages ago, loved it for its prose, but this left little to be liked. It's a character study with little to no real engaging plot. The characterizations are incredibly lifelike. The prose, however, was sparse and lacking in melody. There were bits and pieces in which you can see (and hear) Isherwood for what he is known, but they occur in the first and fourth parts ...more
Allan MacDonell
Christopher Isherwood is one of the most civilized, well-mannered writers I’ve ever read. During my impressionable youth, my search for wayward reading material drew me to A Single Man and Berlin Stories and Prater Violet and Down There on a Visit. I remember being emotionally invested in Isherwood’s heroes and heroines. I remember feeling for the humanity of his villains. I remember complex motives and circumstances rendered with easy clarity. Above all that, I remember that these books—dealing ...more
Cesar Alvarez
Isherwood's character portraits in The Memorial were wonderful, as usual, but I thought he took on too many characters, and the narration was a bit hard to follow. The suicide scene early in the novel was intense and memorable. At first I found Eric to be the most interesting character, but by the end it was definitely Edward.
It's so easy to read Isherwood, because his writing is so effortless; so clear; so witty. Having completed this one, I think I can now describe him as one of my favourite authors.

I picked this novel up in Foyles on a staff recommendations display - having loved the Berlin novels and A Single Man, and rather enjoyed Christopher and His Kind too, I figured I couldn't go wrong with this.

Pointless to talk about plot, because that would miss the point somewhat. Even the blurb on the back of the copy
I bought this book along with a few of Isherwood's books, only because I am such a fan of "A Single Man." I feel like the book had a lovely intention from the summery, but once I began to read it, I almost shelved it a few times, not sure if I wanted to continue reading it. The novel seemed very slow but was not really getting to the point. There were moments where I felt lost, and as a lot of people pointed out, the novel didn't really have much of a point. I HATED Eric. He was a very mean char ...more
The Memorial is Christopher Isherwood's second novel and though it comes highly recommended with wonderful blurbs and recommendations from scholars, it is not one of the author's finest works. I did not like it. One problem for me is that the book really does not have a plot, for which it is recognized and for which it is acclaimed as a series of highly developed character studies. Unfortunately, I could not develop much connection with any of the characters. The biggest disappointment is that t ...more
I knew when I began this book that it was primarily a character study and the plot was almost secondary. I found the plot to be minimal, and while the chartcters were well written I couldn't always tell who was who. The last few pages might have been the best in the book, but even then there was little if any resolution. I'm glad I didn't buy this book.
Lord Beardsley
It took me until pretty much the last page in order to get all the interchangeable characters straight in my head as well as to understand what the hell was supposed to be going on. This was obviously written before Isherwood was a.) fully open to himself as a homosexual and b.) before he ruled. If you're just starting with Isherwood, don't start with this one (psst start with Berlin Stories!) and then only read this one if you've read everything else and are as much of an Isherwood geek as I am ...more
Pippa D
I thought this book has a really lovely story, however, I would caution any possible readers that at times the book can be very confusing. The book is often confusing because of the many characters and the switching points of view. The real heart of the story is in parts 3 and 4 of The Memorial. I encourage readers to power through the parts of the story that are less interesting to get to the wonderful story.
Darcee Kraus
An old-fashioned German gentleman who speaks, quite eloquently I'd like to add, about literally, the portrait of a family, how that structure is prolonged and idealized by society, and makes several points that created new ways for my own personal thinking.

Darcee Kraus
Mckinleyville, CA
Really enjoyed this one. I'm developing a taste for British fiction set in that period between the wars. Reminded me a bit of Brideshead, but with less humor. This won't appeal to everyone, but I liked it.
Wils Cain
The story of a family after WWI and its impact on each of them. Great attention to each character's perceptions. The story unravels out of chronological order which makes for a much more interesting read.
Linda Mccoy
I won this on Goodreads First Reads giveaway, and really liked it. Not much of a plot, but very much a story about the 20's written in the 30' very authentic. A keeper.
i love you c isherwood, but after 50+ pages this still wasn't drawing me in, so i give up.
I love Isherwood but I found it so hard to get into this book.
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Christopher Isherwood was a novelist, playwright, screen-writer, autobiographer, and diarist. He was also homosexual and made this a theme of some of his writing. He was born near Manchester in the north of England in 1904, became a U.S. citizen in 1946, and died at home in Santa Monica, California in January 1986.

Isherwood was the grandson and heir of a country squire, and his boyhood was privile
More about Christopher Isherwood...
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“His boredom was like a nostalgia for the whole world. He was homesick for everywhere but here.” 4 likes
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