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Goodbye to Berlin

3.94  ·  Rating Details ·  5,410 Ratings  ·  392 Reviews
Here, meine Damen und Herren, is Chrisopther Isherwood's brilliant farewell to a city which was not only buildings, streets and people, but was also a state of mind which will never come again.

In linked short stories, he says goodbye to Sally Bowles, to Fraulein Schroeder, to pranksters, perverts, political manipulators; to the very, very guilty and to the dwindling band o
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Mass Market Paperback, UK / Ireland / AUS / NZ, 208 pages
Published 1977 by Triad Panther (first published 1939)
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Ivan
May 11, 2012 Ivan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
One of the small pleasures of growing older is that you can re-read your favourite books and, for the most part, they seem fresh and new; one fondly recalls the core story but generally forgets the local colour, the descriptions and prose styling. I was recently reading “Eminent Outlaws: The Gay Writers Who Changed America” by Christopher Bram; in it he discussed Christopher Isherwood and “Goodbye to Berlin.” Ironically my online book group was reading it at the same time. So, I decided to re-re ...more
Steven  Godin
Goodbye to Berlin indeed!, at least as it was, and the rest of Europe for that matter, as storm is growing within the German establishment, a storm that will go on to wreak havoc across the land and neighboring Poland as Hilter sets in motion the beginning of the darkest time for humanity in the twentieth century. Originally planned as a huge novel titled "The Lost" covering the years of pre-Hitler Berlin, but was deemed to grandiose for the short stories and diaries written during this time, Ch ...more
Jacob Overmark
Jan 12, 2017 Jacob Overmark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british, read-owned
"Even now I cant altogether believe that any of this has really happened ..."

But it did happen. All of it.
Although the Goodbye to Berlin is only semi autobiographic it gives a fine picture of Berlin between wars.
The poor staying poor, the rich getting richer, the intellectuals turning communists and the working class looking for a strong leader to set everything right.
In between the class struggle is "Herr Christoph", a foreigner, an upcoming writer, teaching English to spoiled upper class kid
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Paul Bryant
Jun 16, 2013 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok
Shelves: novels

I believe at one point this novel was going to be called Miserable Mopey English Sod has Absolutely No Fun in Berlin which would have left the reader in no doubt.

I am not so silly as to have expected "Two Ladies" or "The Gorilla Song" in Goodbye to Berlin, as I have discovered since I read Oliver Twist that sometimes they make up songs and add them randomly into the story when they film these books. But I did expect to be reading about Sally Bowles and her exploits at the Kit Kat Club – after al
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Christopher Isherwood lived in Berlin from 1929 to 1933 and kept detailed diaries, from which he created this novel. It's a slow mover, but it has a sense of reality that tells you Isherwood didn't stray too far from his diaries to create it. You see the gradual decline in the fortunes of people of all classes, the undercurrent of growing fear, and the uncertainty about what sort of government will prevail. People tried to go on with life as usual, acclimating so slowly to their future under Hit ...more
Connie
Jul 18, 2012 Connie rated it really liked it
Christopher Isherwood lived in Berlin in the early 1930s, recorded his experiences in his diaries, and later created the fictional "Goodbye to Berlin". Although Isherwood was raised in an upper middle class home in England, he had a more frugal life in Berlin as an English tutor. To stretch his money, he lived in boarding houses where he met some memorable characters. This book is composed of six chapters (or interconnected short stories) that should be read in order.

He tells us about the narrat
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Fabian
May 12, 2014 Fabian rated it really liked it
"The Berlin Stories" all contain so many colors and emotions that the whole desolate grey Berlin of our dreams is pretty much obliterated. Well... sort of. The writer's autobiographical anecdotes are inspiring-- this is precisely what a foreigner writing in a strange land should write like. He is mystified, he is the average onlooker, but he participates often and with polarizing results (even his sexual identity is a big ?), usually saying one thing to a character (lying, inventing, distorting. ...more
Isidora
This was not quite what I expected and I wish I had ended up liking it more than I did.

The famous sentence from the first page is “I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking". Christopher Isherwood created the novel out of his diaries he kept in Berlin in the early 1930s. Towards the end, Hitler was rising, the city gradually changing and the writer decided to leave Berlin for good. This is the section I really liked. The rest, excepting the character of Sally B
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Piperitapitta
Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye.

Ora che ho appena finito di (ri)vedere Cabaret (ma chi lo sapeva, allora, che Cabaret era - quasi - Addio a Berlino e viceversa!)
nella mia mente le parole di Isherwood si sovrappongono alle immagini del film di Bob Fosse.
La Berlino e il tono di Christopher Isherwood sono più pacati, il clima non è così rutilante e gaudente com'è nel film, né la mia immaginazione mi aveva portato a immaginare l'esuberante e disnibita Sally Bowles con gli occhi bistrati, le labbra laccate
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Mel Bossa
Sep 10, 2014 Mel Bossa rated it really liked it
Shelves: 0006-lgbtq
What I love about Isherwood's writing is its honesty. He's so transparent and seems incapable of being pretentious. And there's a lovely loneliness to him I find so endearing. Maybe I wish the characters in these stories would have treated him better, or maybe it was he who was too "English" and well-bred to really let his guard down with any of the women and men he met. Of course, the real central figure in this novel of collected vignettes, is Berlin. A Berlin that changes from person to perso ...more
ΑνναΦ
May 28, 2012 ΑνναΦ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Solo un fine narratore può rendere per fermi immagini, acquerelli, note diaristiche apparentemente prive di pathos e distaccata ironia, prima il crescente disagio economico della popolazione (mirabile la scena dei cittadini davanti alla prima banca fallita, chiusa, in vana attesa con le borse di cuoio) e poi l'inarrestabile, orribile ascesa della violenza nazista. La vita al tempo della Repubblica di Weimar scorre perfino lieta, anche brillante tra café, locali notturni, gite sul Wannsee, i rest ...more
notgettingenough
Whilst in Berlin recently we went to see Cabaret in German in a spiegeltent. Splendid. Naturally I was looking forward to reading about the very same Sally Bowles in this book, but it turns out that Sally Bowles is a complete English Arse. Utterly unbearable. I think it would be fair to say she's been thoroughly fixed up for the musical and bravo for that decision. Certainly this book improves on the pages in which she is not to be found.

There is much to separate this book from Kästner's Going
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C.
Oct 05, 2008 C. rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: nobody, really
Recommended to C. by: Glenda
Shelves: own-or-access, 2009
I actually finished this book four days ago but had to fly to Sydney before I had a chance to write up a review, and then I come home and it's 39-freaking-degrees. Stupid Melbourne weather. Anyway, I didn't think about this book once while I was lounging by the pool or frolicking in the surf like the good little Australian that I am (the stereotype broke down when I took out my copy of Great Expectations, but it was nice while it lasted), which goes to show that it wasn't really that great. Inde ...more
Steve Kettmann
May 06, 2010 Steve Kettmann rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2010
If it wasn't for the movie "Cabaret," which made the Sally Bowles character famous, I don't think I would have found her even close to the most memorable character here. This is a British edition of the material on which - through various steps along the way - the musical and then movie of "Cabaret" were based, but only somewhat. Living in Berlin as I do, I of course took extra interest in the details of the Isherwood character's interactions with Germans in Berlin from a colorfully eccentric bu ...more
Kristin
Sep 01, 2007 Kristin rated it liked it
I had mixed feelings about this book. I found it to be important and, at times, interesting, but not what I expected. It also had this derivative quality, reminding me of other books I've read. Unfortunately for the author, these were books written after this was published and so no fault of his own. But yet it still felt that way. The character of Sally Knowles is Holly Golightly. Bernhard Landauer was Gatsby, particularly in the scene where he has a garden party and plays as though he's having ...more
Francisco
Jun 10, 2016 Francisco rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novela, ingleses
En forma de breves relatos, Isherwood nos muestra algunos aspectos del Berlín de los primeros años del nacismo. La capacidad narrativa refleja personajes que cautivan y otros que desagradan, pero que son atractivos...
Y el autor actúa como una cámara que registra todo lo que ocurre, exponiéndolo ante nosotros como un gran friso que retrata la ciudad.
JacquiWine
Jan 20, 2017 JacquiWine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
First published in 1939, Christopher Isherwood’s Goodbye to Berlin consists of a series of six interlinked short stories/sketches inspired by the author’s time in the city during the early 1930s. Originally destined to form part of a large episodic novel focusing on the pre-Hitler era, Goodbye can now be viewed as a companion piece to Isherwood’s earlier novel, Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935). Together, the two books form The Berlin Novels, published in the UK by Vintage Books. Given the fact th ...more
Ally
May 03, 2012 Ally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sub Sakoul
O συγγραφέας παρουσιάζει μια μικρογραφία του Βερολίνου λίγο πριν την οριστική νίκη του φασισμού στη Γερμανία και την καταπάτηση όλων των ανθρωπίνων δικαιωμάτων και ελευθεριών..Ο αφηγητής Κρίστοφερ ( έχει το ίδιο ονομ/νυμο με το συγγραφέα ) έρχεται "αντιμέτωπος" με ανθρώπους από όλες τις κοινωνικές τάξεις της πόλης και κρατώντας ασφαλείς αποστάσεις χωρίς να καθοδηγείται από τα αισθήματά του μεταπηδάει πολύ εύκολα από τη μία κατάσταση στην άλλη, παραμένοντας κυνικός και ειλικρινής μέχρι το τέλος.. ...more
Lucrezia
May 30, 2013 Lucrezia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Io sono una macchina fotografica con l' obbiettivo aperto"

Berlino 1930 un giovanotto arriva a Berlino, un distinto giovanotto straniero come ce ne sono tanti, senonché questo giovanotto scriverà molti anni più tardi un libro come "A single man".
Ma per il momento non lo sa e si aggira tranquillo per la città con la sola idea di scrivere e di registrare qualsiasi cosa possa essergli utile, senza fare alcuna distinzione e senza avere inutili pregiudizi.
E sempre così che si fanno le conoscenze migl
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Mike
Jan 15, 2016 Mike rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Powinno się rozdać tę książkę wszystkim ludziom w Europie. Wait! Przecież już prawie nikt nie czyta...
Mandarynka
May 25, 2012 Mandarynka rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-books
To na podstawie tej książki powstał scenariusz filmu Boba Fossa "Kabaret" (z Lizą Minnelli w roli głównej), a dokładniej na podstawie tylko jednego epizodu. Dzieło Isherwood'a nie jest bowiem powieścią, lecz właśnie zbiorem epizodów - wspomnień autora i narratora jednocześnie, które jednak tworzą spójną i bardzo ciekawą opowieść o Berlinie z początku lat 30 ubiegłego wieku.

Ponieważ autor zarabia na utrzymanie udzielaniem korepetycji z angielskiego i nie ma stałego lokum, możemy zajrzeć wraz z ni
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Jeremy
May 12, 2016 Jeremy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
Berlin is a skeleton which aches in the cold: it is my own skeleton aching. I feel in my bones the sharp ache of the frost in the girders of the overhead railway, in the iron-work of balconies, in bridges, tramlines, lamp-standards, latrines. The iron throbs and shrinks, the stone and the bricks ache dully, the plaster is numb.




I read this book on the way to, while in, and saying goodbye to Berlin. (And, eerily enough, was heading to Rügen on the train while reading the chapter on Rügen...) A bea
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Rike
Every city and every aera has its own kind of mentality that makes it recognizable. "Leb wohl, Berlin" (Goodbye to Berlin) is one of those books, that showes exactly that.
To set the premises: I've been living in Berlin for the past ten years. Berlin and I have had a love-hate-relationship ever since. I know most of the places quite well and actually, I often have appointments literally next door to the house where Isherwood lived during his Berlin stay. Due to my background someone who doesn't k
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Ali
Aug 19, 2014 Ali rated it really liked it
Goodbye to Berlin

Goodbye to Berlin was chosen by my book group to read during August, we meet later this evening to discuss it. My first Christopher Isherwood book, and I don’t know what I was expecting, but it surprised me for a number of reasons. Although the book is a novel, it reads more like a personal travelogue, the narrator sharing a name with the author. Obviously there is a large autobiographical element to the book which is based upon Isherwood’s travels in the Weimar republic of Germ
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Nick Jones
Although I had not read any of his works, I always had a prejudice against Christopher Isherwood. I placed him amongst the British writers who played at being communist in the 1930s, but then resorted to their class background during the Cold War and became pillars of the establishment. Maybe they were serious writers, but they were dilettantes at life. I read Goodbye to Berlin because it was on the shelves of the house I stayed in while on holiday and I found that I enjoyed it. Isherwood had or ...more
Paige Reiring
Feb 08, 2015 Paige Reiring rated it it was amazing
A book has not left me emotionally wrecked like this in years — maybe ever. Isherwood sets up this book as a recollection of his time spent in Berlin before the first World War. The book is sort of a “Based on a True Story” type deal, where everything he writes is rooted in truth, which makes it all that much better and worse.

Isherwood’s writing is clean and beautiful, with just enough detail to set you in the scene but not so much as to drive you to boredom. The short stories are interlinked in
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Russell George
Jan 02, 2012 Russell George rated it really liked it

I loved this. It’s a series of four vignettes describing various characters the author meets whilst living in Berlin, teaching English and trying to write a novel, in the early 30’s. I began thinking it lacked a bit of substance because it’s so focussed on character rather than any real plot, but after meeting more people, the effect is that you understand the context in which it is written and, teasingly, something of the author himself. By context, of course, this means the onset of Nazism. Bu
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Josh Ang
Mar 06, 2012 Josh Ang rated it really liked it
A document or diary of the last days of Weimar Germany seen through the eyes of 'Christopher Isherwood', whom the author is careful to call "a convenient ventriloquist's dummy, nothing more", effectively distancing himself from it being autobiographical in his preface of sorts.

However, despite these famous lines, "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking", what unfolds is a very personal perspective of the families he lives with, friends and acquaintances he me
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Sara
May 19, 2013 Sara added it
I find Weimar-era Germany to be a fascinating period. It's right before Hitler comes to power, the gulf between rich and poor is the size of the Grand Canyon, and everybody smokes a lot of cigarettes. I saw the movie Cabaret years ago, which lifts a few characters and incidents from this book, but to my initial disappointment, Sally Bowles does not play a huge role in the proceedings here. In fact there's very little plot to speak of. Isherwood's narrator, a thinly veiled version of himself, say ...more
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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
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“I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking. Recording the man shaving at the window opposite and the woman in the kimono washing her hair. Some day, all this will have to be developed, carefully printed, fixed.” 107 likes
“But seriously, I believe I'm a sort of Ideal Woman, if you know what I mean. I'm the sort of woman who can take men away from their wives, but I could never keep anybody for long. And that's because I'm the type which every man imagines he wants, until he gets me; and then he finds he doesn't really, after all.” 21 likes
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