#am reading Christopher and His Kind
Author: Christopher Isherwood
Discovered: Whilst searching for summer holiday reads.
Where read: (in part) Hotel C2, Marseille
What's the story?
Christopher and his Kind is a remarkably candid autobiography by writer Christopher Isherwood which covers the decade prior to the outbreak of the second World War. Isherwood brilliantly brings to life a World on the verge of extreme cultural change. As reader we are guided through a landscape populated by liberal intellectuals and sexual libertines along with characters we recognise including Virginia Wolf, WH Auden and EM Forster.
The Word's Shortlist view:
In a rare break from fiction I picked up a copy of this 1976 autobiography from Christopher Isherwood whose work I’ve enjoyed in literature (Mr Norris Changes Trains) in the theatre (Cabaret, adapted from The Berlin Stories) and on film (A Single Man).
“I am a camera”, declares Christopher early in the book which creates a narrative through this part of Isherwood’s life and puts in to context much of the events and characters that had earlier appeared in his fiction. What’s unique is the casting of ‘Christopher’ as third person narrator; is Isherwood fictionalising himself through his memoir?
Perhaps not if, according to Isherwood, he decided in this book to renounce he former self-censorship and write a more accurate portrayal of the life he, and presumably his fictional alter egos, led.
Berlin was the source of much of his most famous work and this book vividly brings the city to life . The book however, goes beyond Berlin and takes us to Denmark and even China - parts that were excluded from the TV adaptation of the book starring Matt Smith.
Who should read this book?
Anyone interested in looking behind the typewriter and understanding the life of a great 20th Century writer.
What’s next on the bookshelf
Worst Person Ever by Douglas Coupland
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