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Christopher And His Kind Paperback – Sep 18 2001

4 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Univ Of Minnesota Press; Reprint edition (Sept. 18 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0816638632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0816638635
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.8 x 21 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 422 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #366,171 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

Review

“Indispensable for admirers of this truly masterly writer.”
      —Peter Stansky, The New York Times Book Review


“The best prose writer in English. . . . The later Isherwood is even better than the early cameraman.”
      —Gore Vidal, The New York Review of Books
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

About the Author

JAMES CLAMP is a young British actor and voiceover talent from London, England. He lives in New York.


CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD (1902-1986) lived in Berlin from 1928 to 1933 and immigrated to the United States in 1939. A major figure in 20th-century fiction and the gay rights movement, he wrote more than 20 books including the novels Prater Violet and a series of short stories, Goodbye to Berlin, that inspired the musical Cabaret.
--This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I will admit to being slightly put off by the text when I first started reading it. However, once past the unique construction of grammar and syntax, it was an enjoyable experience. I found the filter of the English class system, homosexuality and 1920's mores an interesting perspective. I would recommend reading some of Isherwood's other texts before undertaking this one as many of the stories and characters are freely referenced and revealed in a truer light. The descriptions of Germany are unique to his age and thoroughly fascinating. The story of the man he tries to save from the Nazi's is interesting, but I particularly liked the end of the novel where he broaches the future and seeking love, and true companionship. Overall I fine read.
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Format: Paperback
Christopher Isherwood makes it clear in his introduction that this book will be candid about his homosexuality. It begins with his move to Berlin and covers the time up to his move to America. There are fascinating anecdotes: the character of Sally Bowles (later made famous by "Cabaret") was named after the then unknown but handsome American Paul Bowles. Isherwood read E.M. Forster's "Maurice" in manuscript, decades before it was published. These are just a few. And note: his "Diaries: Volume 1" begins just *after* this book (the earlier diaries were destroyed)
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Format: Paperback
I purchased the book after I saw the movie at a gay film festival in Toronto. At first I was intrigued but after most of what the movie had covered, I began to slowly lose interest. The details were informative but it was hard to feel any connection to the writer who is narrating his own story in the THIRD person. This creates a little distance...instead of pulling the reader in, I felt pushed out. However, if you are a Christopher Isherwood fan or you wish to know how his Berlin stories were generated, you must read this book.
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Format: Paperback
This book is one of a kind....brilliant, great, adventurous, a classic. Words do not describe it. Isherwood lays evertything on the table. He shows all his cards. This is one of the most exciting books I've ever read. I'm a college student and I skipped all of the ten thousand other books I have to read in order to read this one. It was not a waste of time. Once you get into this book it's a blast. The best part is following Isherwood across Europe. If you want the definitive feeling about the Modern Era read this book. You will get to know such characters as EM Forster, W.H. Auden, and Virginia Woolfe.....Gee, ever heard of them? This is the last great classic Isherwood wrote. I was so entranced by the words that I stayed up all night to finnish it. It's defintiely on my all time favorite list.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0xa4814c6c) out of 5 stars 13 reviews
29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44e2e40) out of 5 stars How kind of Isherwood April 8 2005
By B. Morse - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
To reveal a more candid portrait of his life between 1929 and 1939.

Christopher and His Kind explores the real story behind his travels back and forth from England to Germany, and the people and events that influenced his life during this decade of time.

Having first read 'Down there on a Visit', which draws experiences and people from this time in his life as it's foundation, it was amusing to read the 'real' story behind certain characters and situations described in the former novel.

Isherwood is far more frank about his homosexuality, and his encounters with other males, in this book, which can also be attributed to the time period in which this was written, being the 1970's, which definitely saw a more liberal attitude emerging than in the 50's, and 60's. But at the same time, he never seems 'graphic' or overindulgent in his descriptiveness. A sense of propriety and discretion carries throughout.

The only off-putting aspect of this novel to me, which lists many of Isherwoods contemporaries and friends, including Wystan Auden, E.M. Forster, Virginia Woolf, Aldous Huxley, and more, is that Isherwood in many, many instances refers to himself in the third person, as Christopher, and then immediately switches to first person, 'me'....which is a bit confusing. It reminded me of another book by an 'autobiographical' author, Edmund White (The Married Man) in which White switches from his usual first-person narrative to a third person narrative, leaving me with the impression that he found himself unable to record the events described as anything but an outsider, or observer. I wonder if perhaps the same is true with Isherwood?

Regardless, this book delves deep into his travels, and interactions with his friends and family. Also described are his days with a long-term love and travel companion, and the lengths Isherwood went to for this young man. The book hints at much more to come with the ending words, which is by far my favorite 'line' out of the four Isherwood works I have read...knowing what he is refering to....but I won't give it away.

An excellent read, and entertaining to any fan of this gifted author, to know more about his life and times.
25 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44e3264) out of 5 stars Isherwood discovers Berlin and boys Feb. 10 1997
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Christopher Isherwood makes it clear in his introduction that this book will be candid about his homosexuality. It begins with his move to Berlin and covers the time up to his move to America. There are fascinating anecdotes: the character of Sally Bowles (later made famous by "Cabaret") was named after the then unknown but handsome American Paul Bowles. Isherwood read E.M. Forster's "Maurice" in manuscript, decades before it was published. These are just a few. And note: his "Diaries: Volume 1" begins just *after* this book (the earlier diaries were destroyed)
18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44e3090) out of 5 stars One of a Kind May 5 2003
By Aaron - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is one of a kind....brilliant, great, adventurous, a classic. Words do not describe it. Isherwood lays evertything on the table. He shows all his cards. This is one of the most exciting books I've ever read. I'm a college student and I skipped all of the ten thousand other books I have to read in order to read this one. It was not a waste of time. Once you get into this book it's a blast. The best part is following Isherwood across Europe. If you want the definitive feeling about the Modern Era read this book. You will get to know such characters as EM Forster, W.H. Auden, and Virginia Woolfe.....Gee, ever heard of them? This is the last great classic Isherwood wrote. I was so entranced by the words that I stayed up all night to finnish it. It's defintiely on my all time favorite list.
14 of 17 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44e366c) out of 5 stars Interesting Read- rewarding for the patient Dec 12 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I will admit to being slightly put off by the text when I first started reading it. However, once past the unique construction of grammar and syntax, it was an enjoyable experience. I found the filter of the English class system, homosexuality and 1920's mores an interesting perspective. I would recommend reading some of Isherwood's other texts before undertaking this one as many of the stories and characters are freely referenced and revealed in a truer light. The descriptions of Germany are unique to his age and thoroughly fascinating. The story of the man he tries to save from the Nazi's is interesting, but I particularly liked the end of the novel where he broaches the future and seeking love, and true companionship. Overall I fine read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa44e36e4) out of 5 stars Getting to know all about this very good author, some of his questionable choices, and his name-dropping Dec 5 2009
By H. Williams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At the December 2007 meeting of the NYC LGBT Center book discussion group, we read and discussed "Christopher and His Kind" by Christopher Isherwood. We had a small group who was mixed on this memoir.

While many of us found much of the writing very exact and extremely satisfying at times, many also found it to go on and on and on at other times. We also thought that many of his characters were well drawn, but as a name-dropper, Isherwood also includes many people we never get to know, because all that's important is that they knew Christopher. One of the central characters, Christopher's very young and long-term companion, Heinz, seemed less clear, and Christopher's allowing him to return to Nazi Germany seemed less momentous than expected, especially considering their time together and the expense Christopher's family indulged toward getting him a visa.

The choice to alternate between the third-person "Christopher said or did this..." and the first-person "I now believe that I was wrong..." was irritating at times. But having raised all these questions, the final chapter is a fantastic summation of his life and the works, and his reach into the future.


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