Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Single Man” as Want to Read:
A Single Man
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Single Man

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  20,099 ratings  ·  1,521 reviews
When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life; the course of A Single Man spans twenty-four hours in an ordinary day. An Englishman ...more
Audio CD, 5 pages
Published December 22nd 2009 by HighBridge Company (first published 1964)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Single Man, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Greg Kenny says he doesn't think about the past. And at the end of this book, George decides in his own way not to either.
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
Jeffrey Keeten
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-to-film
“A few times in my life I’ve had moments of absolute clarity. When for a few brief seconds the silence drowns out the noise and I can feel rather than think, and things seem so sharp and the world seems so fresh. It’s as though it had all just come into existence.
I can never make these moments last. I cling to them, but like everything, they fade. I have lived my life on these moments. They pull me back to the present, and I realize that everything is exactly the way it was meant to be.”


We all
...more
Luca Ambrosino
English (A Single Man)/ Italiano

George, a middle-aged professor, has an ordinary life, but now he must relate to loneliness because of the untimely passing of his partner. Glimmers of light thanks to few daily joys can be seen in his gray days: a female friend who invites him to dinner to distract him, but awkwardily ends up kissing him, ignoring his homosexuality and pretending more than what George can offer her. Or a college student who spends the night at George's house, giving him a few hou

...more
Toby
Sep 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lit, favourites
Christopher Isherwood has written a book that makes me hate him. Or maybe I hate myself? The main theme of this book is loss; loss of a lover, loss of youth, loss of identity, loss of direction, it's all there in beautifully phrased observations and it tickled that spot in my mind, the spot where I hide all of my fears, until I could no longer ignore the fact that I am and I continue to lose these things myself until one day the devastating and unthinkable will happen and I will lose that which ...more
Paul
Feb 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, isherwood
An astounding piece of work; a day in the life of novel. The day belongs to George Falconer; an English professor in his 50s (English by nationality as well) teaching in southern California. It is set in the early 1960s. George’s lover Jim has recently died suddenly and he is alone again. The novel takes us from waking to breakfast, to travelling to work and so on. This doesn’t have the grandiosity of Joyce; it is much more straightforward and focuses living each day because of life’s brevity.
T
...more
Steven Godin
Even though there are positive reviews aplenty I still had concerns this would turn out to be an overly melodramatic letdown, but needn't have worried as what we have here is a compressed work of utter brilliance from a vastly undervalued writer who does not waste a single word making the reading experience flawless. There are two thing in particular to highlight that nailed it for me, firstly I do not believe Isherwood set out with the intention of writing a story wholly about about homosexuali ...more
Julio Genao
Aug 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Students of skribblecraft
Shelves: loved
I aspire.

It's listed as being 192 pages long, but I swear it's because the edition I read had fifty words a page with three inch margins an every side.

It's so economical it is more or less mind-blowing.

If my desire to express whimsy came from Terry Pratchett and P.G. Wodehouse, and my inclination to be daring and irreverent came from David Foster Wallace and Stephen King

If my unruly imagination came from Bill Watterson, and my eye for alienation from Susan Cooper

If my lust for scale came from
...more
Bill  Kerwin
Sep 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This witty, acerbic, elegant little novel should not be confused with the soggy, self-pitying movie of the same name.
Evan
Feb 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone in the universe
This book is a truly beautiful thing; a completely exquisite experience. Page after page it spoke to me, as eloquently and profoundly as any book I've ever read. It was sad and funny and wise and observant without ever becoming sentimental or maudlin.

In 186 pages of concentrated, yet langorous, stream-of-consciousness prose Isherwood gets to the heart of what it means to be a middle-aged man, a loner, a fish out of water, an expatriate on several levels -- as a Britisher in a new land, a gay man
...more
Councillor
He pictures the evening he might have spent, snugly at home, fixing the food he has bought, then lying down on the couch beside the bookcase and reading himself slowly sleepy. At first glance, this is an absolutely convincing and charming scene of domestic contentment. Only after a few instances does George notice the omission which makes it meaningless. What is left out of the picture is Jim, lying opposite him at the other end of the couch, also reading; the two of them absorbed in their boo
...more
Brian
Sep 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For astronauts that had returned from walking on the moon, I imagine that the worst part of their experience was having to live out the rest of their lives. Every other event would be "after the moon"; all experiences would be measured by that yardstick; old and new relationships would orbit around that event.

This then makes me think about retired professional athletes, former world-stage politicians, etc. - do they also live out the remainder of their lives reflecting on the halcyon days of yes
...more
Jacob Overmark
We never meet Jim in person.

This is George after Jim. A middle-aged man caught between daydreams and nightmares, adhering to the conformity of life in the daytime, drowning his sorrows - well knowing that the little devils can swim - in alcohol at night.

Taking exercise, working hard, and allowing himself daydreaming a little once again, cause there MUST be a life after Jim, except there isnt.

How do you cope when your lover is gone, killed in a car crash, a lover you even cant admit the love t
...more
Netta
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2018
I wouldn’t dare to write anything about someone’s absence and how it bares you, as it is already there, tightly packed into this mesmerizing little book. We never truly experience what absence is till it’s too late, don’t we? That’s why we are never prepared. A Single Man, to me, is a novel about Jim-less George and his pain which feels too real to absorb - palpable and ugly, physical and raw, at times almost disgusting. What’s more important (and what I discovered reading this book for the seco ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) was an English novelist who pioneered the writing of novels with gay themes in English literature. He was openly gay, lived with and befriended fellow gay men some of them were famous also like W. H. Auden and Truman Capote. At some points in his life, he also became friends and was mentored by E. M. Forster. In turn, when he met Ray Bradbury in a chance encounter in a bookstore, he wrote a glowing review for his The Martian Chronicles that helped launch the lat ...more
BrokenTune
Jul 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
Waking up begins with saying am and now.
That which has awoken then lies for a while staring up at the ceiling and down into itself until it has recognised I, and therefrom deduced I am, I am now. Here comes next, and is at least negatively reassuring; because here, this morning, is where it had expected to find itself; what’s called at home. But now isn’t simply now. Now is also a cold reminder; one whole day later than yesterday, one year later than last year.
Every now is labelled with its date
...more
Mevsim Yenice
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Kitabı "lgbtt romanı" kategorisinde okumaya başlamıştım ama çeyreğine gelmeden anlatımın güzelliği ve içine çekmeye çalıştığı başka konular nedeniyle yönümü şaşırarak, atmosfere teslim olarak okumaya devam ettim. Daha doğrusu kitap kendini öyle okuttu.

Bana sorarsanız kesinlikle hedef şaşırtan kitaplardan; çünkü sona kadar defalarca renk değiştiriyor öte yandan hiç şaşmadan da baştan beri "yabancılaşma" hakkında bir şeyler okuyacaksın ip ucunu apaçık vermişti.

Tüm durağanlığına rağmen dipdiri bi
...more
☽ Sono sempre vissuta nel castello Chiara
Ho questa convinzione errata che un libro breve non possa equivalere ad un libro con molte pagine... questo particolare libro ha smentito questa convinzione.. che importanza hanno molte pagine se non emozionano, coinvolgono, fanno pensare? Cose che questo romanzo così intenso, ben scritto e profondo offrono. Ho trovato un capolavoro in poco più di 140 pagine, non ho altro da dire
Dagio_maya
“Abbasso il Futuro. Che se lo tengano Kenny e i ragazzi. Che Charley si tenga il Passato. George si attacca solo all'Adesso. È Adesso che deve trovare un altro Jim. Adesso che deve amare. Adesso che deve vivere...”


La prima lettura dell’anno ha un sapore particolare già di per sé.
Mentre attorno tutto è silenzio, apro questo libro con l’emozione di cominciare le nuove letture in programma.
Anno nuovo, libro nuovo e scelgo di cominciare da quest’uomo solo come me in questo primo mattino dell’ann
...more
Eric
Sep 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ficciones
A Single Man is a day in the life (quaint naturalist device, that) of a middle-aged Englishman and English professor grieving in a numbed, autopilot kinda way after the recent death of his partner. I remember Don Bachardy saying in the film Chris and Don: A Love Story that Isherwood wrote this novel during one of their trial separations; the intensity of George’s sense of loss was therefore underwritten by Isherwood’s own dreadful imagination of life without Don.

I loved George’s morning, and hi
...more
Leslie
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a gem of a book. The style of writing is quite lyrical in a sense and beautiful itself, let alone having a great story line!
I finished it quickly and highly recommend the Audiobook version. Narration is stunning & adds a lot to it in my opinion!
Catie
Apr 09, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I am not sure if I am just ignorant of what the humor was like in the 60’s, or if Christopher Isherwood was way ahead of his time, but this book definitely has what I would call a modern sense of humor. It’s that special blend of bittersweet heartbreak, self-deprecation, and sardonic wit. I am very familiar with this type of humor from my favorite movies and television shows, but I am pleasantly surprised to find it here, in this brilliant little book that, on the surface, appears to be about de ...more
El
If you watched the 2009 movie version of this story starring Colin Firth before reading this book, be aware that the movie takes the story in... a different direction. Kinda sorta? It's different. For all of its similarities, it's different. I saw the movie first because I requested both from the library and the movie came in before the book, and the movies are only borrowable for a week, and who knew when the book was coming in, so I just sucked it up and did it.

These are both good stories. But
...more
Barry Pierce
Probably the greatest and saddest ending to a book I have ever read.
Deniz Balcı
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: amerikan-edebiyat, dq
Tek Başına Bir Adam, yabancılaşma kavramını 130 sayfada o kadar güçlü ve gerçekçi işliyor ki en büyük güzelliği bence burada yatıyor. Savaş sonrası Amerika’sında var olabilecek bütün “öteki”leri neredeyse bünyesinde toplamış olan karakterimiz George bir yandan da kaybettiği partneri Jim’in yasını tutarken, hikâyesini alıştığımız o melodramik çıkmazlardan hiçbirisine sokmuyor. Diğer yandan da bu “öteki” durumunu tek katmanda değil, farklı farklı katmanlarda ele alıyor. Çok hayata dair işte bu rom ...more
Kimley
Dec 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Masks - we all wear them. We've got our work masks and our family masks and our friend masks. Then, try adding to that being a gay man living in the netherworld of not pretending to be straight but also not able to be fully out (the early 1960s). That's a lot of freakin' masks! And it's exhausting. And our hero, George, is tired, tired of the bullshit and hypocrisy. Thankfully, he still has a biting sense of humor and beware if you're on the receiving end of his satirical skewer. But George is a ...more
Ilenia Zodiaco
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Che tipo di esperienza?".
"Be', posti in cui si è stati, gente che si è incontrata. Situazioni che si sono già vissute, di modo che quando si ripresentano riusciamo a fronteggiarle. Tutte quelle scemenze che, con gli anni, dovrebbero renderti saggio".
"Lascia che ti dica una cosa, Kenny. Degli altri, non posso dire niente - ma, per ciò che mi riguarda, non c'è niente che mi abbia reso saggio. Certo, mi è capitato questo e quello; e quando mi ricapita, mi dico ci risiamo. Ma non mi pare di ness
...more
Minh Nhân Nguyễn
4 sao.

Trước khi đọc cuốn này, có nhiều thứ sẽ khiến bạn nhầm tưởng. Đồng tính không phải là chủ đề chính tác phẩm này nói tới, mà vấn đề tác giả nêu ra là sự cô độc của một nhóm người mang những đặc điểm thiểu số so với số đông còn lại, thiểu số này cũng có thể là người da vàng, da đen hay do thái chẳng hạn. Nhưng không như với các "thiểu số" khác, sự khác biệt được biểu lộ rõ ràng ra bên ngoài, người đồng tính trông chẳng khác gì so với những người "bình thường". Và để không phải cô lập ra khỏi
...more
Giedre
So right after finishing Isherwood's "A Single Man" last night I did this terrible (or wonderful?) thing of whatching the movie based on the book. I was moved after the book, and it only got intensified after I finished the movie at 2:30 am last night. And I could not sleep until the morning. The terrible part is that I can't tell which of the two was responsible for my insomnia in the end. The wonderful part that I had not been moved in such way in a very long time.

"A Single Man" follows George
...more
Sofia
Mar 08, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Masterly writing, capable of taking me in the first pages to the 'place' where George lives. Isherwood's writing is full of the little truths of our everyday lives and his wit and social commentary channelled through George rings true not only for when the time this was written but for now also, after all circumstances change but human interaction remains the same. I ended up highlighting most of the book, so I will not quote. If you want quotes, just read the book.

(view spoiler)
...more
KatieMc
Oct 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: librarybook
Good things come in small well written packages. Christopher Isherwood has puts you the reader inside the skin of the protagonist, George, experiencing a day that is both mundane and extraordinary. The loneliness and isolation of a grieving (for all intents and purposes) widower is certainly a central theme. Because George is a gay man in the 1960s, his grief must be private. Even so, I did not read A Single Man as a gay rights protest piece; it was much more than that. Maybe it is just me, but ...more
Chiara Pagliochini
“Lo specchio, più che un volto, riflette l’espressione di una difficoltà. […] Lo sguardo provato è quello di un nuotatore o di un podista stremati; eppure, di fermarsi non se ne parla. L’individuo che stiamo osservando lotterà senza tregua fino al crollo. E non per eroismo. Perché non sa immaginarsi un’alternativa.”

Quand’ero verso la metà di questo libro, ho pensato che ad essere onesti lo si poteva riassumere con una frase sola, e non delle più complesse. Una frase minimale, quasi un inciso, to
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • Dancer from the Dance
  • The Charioteer
  • The City and the Pillar
  • The Beautiful Room Is Empty
  • Becoming a Man: Half a Life Story
  • At Swim, Two Boys
  • The Swimming-Pool Library
  • The Carnivorous Lamb
  • The Front Runner (Harlan's Story, #1)
  • On Being Different: What It Means to Be a Homosexual
  • The Lost Language of Cranes
  • How Long Has This Been Going On?
  • Faggots
  • Maurice
  • Call Me By Your Name
  • Like People in History
  • Mysterious Skin
  • Comfort and Joy
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
“Think of two people, living together day after day, year after year, in this small space, standing elbow to elbow cooking at the same small stove, squeezing past each other on the narrow stairs, shaving in front of the same small bathroom mirror, constantly jogging, jostling, bumping against each other’s bodies by mistake or on purpose, sensually, aggressively, awkwardly, impatiently, in rage or in love – think what deep though invisible tracks they must leave, everywhere, behind them!” 237 likes
“But now isn’t simply now. Now is also a cold reminder: one whole day later than yesterday, one year later than last year. Every now is labeled with its date, rendering all past nows obsolete, until — later of sooner — perhaps — no, not perhaps — quite certainly: it will come.” 148 likes
More quotes…