Dan's Reviews > The World In The Evening

The World In The Evening by Christopher Isherwood
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Apr 13, 2016

it was amazing
Read in May, 2011

Let me start by saying I'm partial to Isherwood. His Prater Violet is perhaps my favorite novel of all time. The World in the Evening, however, may be a close runner-up. Isherwood oscillates between epistolary and straight-forward narrative, for a rather haunting, heart-felt experience that eschews sentimentality. It's the story of Stephen Monk, a wealthy young man who meanders throughout the world in the company of his wife, Elizabeth Rydal - a celebrated British author - in the early '30s. As is common with Isherwood, the specter of Hitler's Germany is always operating on the fringes to ground the narrative with a kind of melancholy realism. What's particularly interesting about Stephen is that, unlike most of Isherwood's narrators, he's more than just a thinly veiled version of the author. They share essential characteristics - a kind of wanderlust and a simmering political consciousness carefully kept in check - but they are fundamentally different people - the character and the author - a distance that is brought off to great effect. Ultimately, what The World delivers is a clear meditation on coming-of-age in a chaotic world, with plenty of the bohemian verve and Weimar insightfulness we've come to expect from Isherwood. Highly recommended.

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04/13 marked as: read

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