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Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood

Goodbye to Berlin (original 1939; edition 2016)

by Christopher Isherwood, George Grosz (Illustrator), Frank Whitford (Foreword)

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1,385297,975 (3.7)108
Title:Goodbye to Berlin
Authors:Christopher Isherwood
Other authors:George Grosz (Illustrator), Frank Whitford (Foreword)
Info:Folio Society, 2016
Collections:Your library
Tags:Folio Society, Fiction

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Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (Author) (1939)


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English (21)  Spanish (2)  French (1)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Portuguese (Portugal) (1)  All languages (29)
Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
Engaging collection of connected short stories showing life in 1930-32 Berlin from the perspective of a relatively poor Englishman. The section on Sally Bowles was of course familiar to me from the musical Cabaret though I got a slightly different impression of her character from the book.

Isherwood's writing is engaging and I look forward to reading another of his books. ( )
  leslie.98 | Apr 9, 2018 |
Lost my original 1970 copy. A very well written life & times in free thinking, some (not me) say decadent early 1930s Berlin & beginning of its despairing descent in to a ghastly, rigidly Nazi capital city. Various characters come & go as Isherwood recounts life among typical Berliners of all classes & from the various increasingly disastrous political divisions: Very late on a Nazi female assures her drunk Nazi lover, "There will be blood, the Leader promised.." The book ends in 1933-34 & I doubt she, Isherwood, or his Berliner acquaintances among Jews, Christians, Communists & even Nazis had any idea just how much blood. ( )
  tommi180744 | Nov 14, 2017 |
These are stories about life in the demi-monde of Berlin in the early years of Nazi rule.

I thought the book would be sleazier, but it's actually very touching. These are people who don't want to accept the mundanity of conventional life. They want to test their boundaries, live differently, and know they can say they experienced life. There is an edge of sadness to all their stories. The desperation of wanting to be different but lacking the financial resources to do it properly. The falling in and out of relationships, never knowing what it is they want, never finding the thing that is lacking.

The final essay draws the arc of Nazi ascension to its zenith. Throughout the book, the fascists are slowly creeping towards their annexation of the heart of Berlin society. The people whom Isherwood knows are mostly the people that the Nazis want to exterminate. The public brutality of the system increases suddenly and is assimilated by ordinary people who live in fear of being brutalised themselves. As Isherwood says, it is depressing. ( )
  missizicks | Oct 2, 2016 |
This is a very quick read, that is it's only redeeming feature. I loathed every character in it. ( )
  KarenDuff | Jun 1, 2016 |
Isherwood's "Goodbye to Berlin" consists of six fragments that the author originally intended to be part of a larger novel on Berlin. Instead they were collected with similar works in his "Berlin Stories". The individual chapters are best described as character studies, rather than short stories or vignettes. Based in Berlin the 1930s, the chapters evoke aspects of the fading Weimer Republic and the rise of Nazism.

This book brought me only mild enjoyment, because I found the characters to be of minor interest. Even Isherwood's "Sally Bowles" (who was later immortalized by actress Liza Minnelli in the film "Cabaret") appears here as a half- drawn character who lacks reality, and for whom the reader likely has no special interest or affinity. "Goodbye to Berlin" hints at the social and sexual decadence of 1930s- era city, and some foreboding street scenes reflect the growing power of the Nazi movement. However, overall, I found the work a disappointment of mild entertainment value. In my view, this work mainly gains its power from subsequent historical events that we know all too well, plus its very loose adaptation on stage and screen. ( )
2 vote danielx | Nov 27, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Isherwood, ChristopherAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Grosz, GeorgeIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Whitford, FrankForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0586047956, Paperback)

First published in 1939, this novel obliquely evokes the gathering storm of Berlin before and during the rise to power of the Nazis. Events are seen through the eyes of a series of individuals, whose lives are all about to be ruined.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:18:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Christopher Isherwood is the narrator of Goodbye to Berlin. His story evokes the gathering storm in Berlin before and just after the rise to power of the Nazis, as seen through the eyes of a series of individuals.

(summary from another edition)

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