Review Collection of two previously published novels written by Christopher Isherwood, published in 1946. Set in pre-World War II Germany, the semiautobiographical work consists of Mr. Norris Changes Trains (1935; U.S. title, The Last of Mr. Norris) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). The Berlin Stories merge fact and fiction and contain ostensibly objective, frequently comic tales of marginal characters who live shabby and tenuous existences as expatriates in Berlin; the threat of the political horrors to come serves as subtext. In Goodbye to Berlin the character Isherwood uses the phrase "I am a camera with its shutter open" to claim that he is simply a passive recorder of events. The two novels that comprise The Berlin Stories made Isherwood's literary reputation; they later became the basis for the play I Am a Camera (1951; film, 1955) and the musical Cabaret (1966; film, 1972).
I'm disappointed. I'm going to have to send this one on without reading it. I've been totally swamped in bookrays and life has been very busy. I'm now going on holidays for a month or so and I don't feel that I can really delay this ray any longer.
The ones that get away make me sad. Until another time little book!
Journal Entry 8 by fushmush at sent to the the next bookcrosser, Bookray -- Controlled Releases on Sunday, April 05, 2009
Released 9 yrs ago (4/5/2009 UTC) at sent to the the next bookcrosser, Bookray -- Controlled Releases
So, I finished Goodbye to Berlin and read half of The last of Mr. Norris, but couldn’t really be bothered to finish it. Isherwood’s style is very neutral, observing, meaning that the author gets very little involved himself. He is very good at describing places and people, their little mannerism, use of language and clothes that make the unique. He is indeed the camera lens he wants to be. I find that makes the story less engaging, a little boring, in fact. Isherwood does record the spirit of the time, but doesn’t give any judgement or comment on this life. I would have wanted to know more about how he FELT.
I find 'Mr. Norris' amazingly sexually explicit for its time. There is a constant sexual undercurrent in 'Goodbye', too. I was always wondering if Isherwood was gay, bisexual or just close to men.
I am pleased I speak German, as he intersperses the text with German expressions.
I have eventually managed to get through this book, as I have had many other distractions - so sorry for holding it up! I really preferred The Last of Mr Norris - I thought it was very witty and funny in parts, and actually really liked his character even though he was a bit of a cad! I was hoping that he would put in an appearance in Goodbye To Berlin. This story I also found interesting, however a little patchy. There were a few main stories, but then I felt that the end disintegrated into sort of bitty diary entries.. These gave a brief indication of what was going on in the period, but I felt that the second book didn't flow very much. Anyway, overall I've enjoyed reading this, and thanks Perryfran, thats another 2 books crossed off the 1001 list!! I will be posting out to Liel on Monday. :)
Journal Entry 14 by Jozebedee at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom on Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Released 9 yrs ago (10/6/2009 UTC) at -- Controlled Release, -- By post or by hand/ in person -- United Kingdom
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"My stories run up and bite me on the leg -- I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off."