Iris's Reviews > A Single Man

A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Jun 01, 2009

really liked it
Recommended for: teachers, loners, orators, gym members
Read in June, 2009

An intense, subtle page-turner that will so absorb you that you'll wonder if you've briefly become another person. Specifically, the keen main character, George, who we follow through a day in which he thinks about Jim, his recently deceased partner, while he walks through life: driving to Laurel Canyon, teaching an Aldous Huxley novel in a lecture hall, going to the gym, passionately opining, and observing others' awkwardness or obliviousness around his gayness. Isherwood's focus on careful observations and mundane details, and his faith that deep grief and love will shine through them (instead of through explicit exposition of thoughts and feelings), makes A Single Man evoke, diversely, Lydia Davis or Virginia Woolf in their interests in solitude and loneliness.

The university scenes are wonderfully detailed and verisimilar - Isherwood knows well the emotional give-and-take of lecturing.

This was Isherwood's favorite of his novels. I had ulterior motives for reading it, though:

At the age of twelve, I made an extraordinary sum of money. After a few days of stock market study, I opted against diversifying my stock portfolio, instead investing all my money in Gucci stocks. Though Gucci collected dust for decades, it had just named a young man named Tom Ford as creative director, and his ambition sparked a great deal of hope in the company's future. The stock price started very low, but after a few weeks, Tom Ford made me more money than any other student in my 7th-grade economics class, where this purely hypothetical stock market exercise unfurled.

For all that, Tom Ford still holds a sliver of my affection. Quelle surprise to hear that his new project is A Single Man, the movie. He's directing his own screenplay, with Colin Firth as George and Julianne Moore as daffy Charlotte. Exciting, non?
8 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read A Single Man.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

05/21/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Renee (new) - added it

Renee Excellent review, Iris. I wonder if Rain Taxi would be interested in this...

Iris Merci, chérie - you always have the best ideas, gently prodding your friends to move forward in life! I pass by the Utne Reader HQ every day, on Hennepin Avenue in Minneapolis. Utne works with Rain Taxi. We shall see. For now, I adore Goodreads.

back to top