HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Loading...

No title (1935)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
6901713,798 (3.62)40
Member:
Title:
Authors:
Info:
Collections:
Rating:
Tags:None

Work details

Mr Norris Changes Trains by Christopher Isherwood (1935)

  1. 00
    Christopher and His Kind by Christopher Isherwood (aulsmith)
    aulsmith: The real "Mr. Norris" is revealed in Christopher and His Kind
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 40 mentions

English (15)  Italian (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (17)
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
Christopher Isherwood is now best remembered for his stories set in Berlin during the demise of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis. This book, the novella 'Sally Bowles' and the collection of stories published as 'Goodbye to Berlin' inspired John van Druten's play, 'I Am a Camera' which in turn inspired the memorable 'Cabaret' which so poignantly captured the simultaneous decadence and political volatility of Berlin in the early 1903s.

The book is narrated by William Bradshaw, a young Cambridge graduate who has moved to Berlin where he survives by teaching English to a succession of pupils. On the train from The Hook of Holland he meets and befriends Arthur Norris, a larger than life opportunist who has been living off his wits in Berlin for some years. Norris is a superb creation, a cheery amalgam of Arthur Daley, Falstaff and Mr Pickwick. At first sight cripplingly effete, he is on occasion prepared to live fairly dangerously, though he also suffers from a crippling squeamishness about some of the bleaker realities of life. Like Pickwick, he is slave to an incurable vanity about his appearance, thinning his eyebrows three times a week and revelling in his selection of wigs. I don't, however, recall Pickwick being addicted to robust flagellation delivered by a red-booted dominatrix (though perhaps it's just that my school favoured a bowdlerised version of Dickens's novel to protect our simple country boy innocence).

The novel is clearly drawn from Isherwood's own experiences, catalogued more factually (though less entertainingly) in his memoirs 'Christopher and His Kind'. Interestingly, while the character remains essentially unchanged, William Bradshaw does indeed become Christopher Isherwood in the subsequent stories.

He pulls off a masterly performance. The story is by turns hilarious, sad and chilling, against the backdrop of bitter streetfights between the Nazis and the Communists, with episodes of ghastly anti-semitism in the background. Bradshaw relates the story in a manner similar to Nick Jenkins in Anthony Powell's saga 'A Dance to the Music of Time'. Although he tells the story, we learn almost nothing about him apart from the odd hint gleaned from other characters' passing comments. Events happena round him rather than to him, but his observation is clear and wry.

Isherwood writes with an attractive simplicity - his prose is clear and engaging, and a joy to read. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Sep 24, 2015 |
Christopher Isherwood is now best remembered for his stories set in Berlin during the demise of the Weimar Republic and the rise of the Nazis. This book, the novella 'Sally Bowles' and the collection of stories published as 'Goodbye to Berlin' inspired John van Druten's play, 'I Am a Camera' which in turn inspired the memorable 'Cabaret' which so poignantly captured the simultaneous decadence and political volatility of Berlin in the early 1903s.

The book is narrated by William Bradshaw, a young Cambridge graduate who has moved to Berlin where he survives by teaching English to a succession of pupils. On the train from The Hook of Holland he meets and befriends Arthur Norris, a larger than life opportunist who has been living off his wits in Berlin for some years. Norris is a superb creation, a cheery amalgam of Arthur Daley, Falstaff and Mr Pickwick. At first sight cripplingly effete, he is on occasion prepared to live fairly dangerously, though he also suffers from a crippling squeamishness about some of the bleaker realities of life. Like Pickwick, he is slave to an incurable vanity about his appearance, thinning his eyebrows three times a week and revelling in his selection of wigs. I don't, however, recall Pickwick being addicted to robust flagellation delivered by a red-booted dominatrix (though perhaps it's just that my school favoured a bowdlerised version of Dickens's novel to protect our simple country boy innocence).

The novel is clearly drawn from Isherwood's own experiences, catalogued more factually (though less entertainingly) in his memoirs 'Christopher and His Kind'. Interestingly, while the character remains essentially unchanged, William Bradshaw does indeed become Christopher Isherwood in the subsequent stories.

He pulls off a masterly performance. The story is by turns hilarious, sad and chilling, against the backdrop of bitter streetfights between the Nazis and the Communists, with episodes of ghastly anti-semitism in the background. Bradshaw relates the story in a manner similar to Nick Jenkins in Anthony Powell's saga 'A Dance to the Music of Time'. Although he tells the story, we learn almost nothing about him apart from the odd hint gleaned from other characters' passing comments. Events happena round him rather than to him, but his observation is clear and wry.

Isherwood writes with an attractive simplicity - his prose is clear and engaging, and a joy to read. ( )
2 vote Eyejaybee | Sep 17, 2015 |
Part of the basis for what became the long running Broadway musical "Cabaret" and the film of the same name, this is a not shallow look at Germany as Hitler fought for power. Isherwood, late in his life, thought that this early writing was shallow. It is a mostly amoral dispassionate look inside the decaying society. Looking back as Isherwood did, he recognizes that he lightly reported on the starvation and violence that cannot be described adequately anyway.

Isherwood actually delivers a self-censored look at a part of his life in the Weimer Republic in the early 1930's. It is really Berlin with the unspeakable parts probably wisely omitted. This is based greatly on actual people that he knew to varying degrees. The narrator is a not well disguised version of himself. In the related Berlin stories, he describes Sally Bowles, a lightly fictionalized portrait. Mixed in this and the other stories are actual named historical figures. If you want to be introduced to real characters in another place and time, isn't that one reason to read?

Isherwood is a superb writer and he could have intrigued with writing about the Cleavers in 1950's America, if he chose. But we met them in the TV series.

Life is a Cabaret, my friend. Life is a Cabaret. ( )
1 vote Forthwith | May 6, 2015 |
I went to the Beryl Cook print shop in the Barbican in Plymouth, and the crafty Folio Society had retained copyright of
the superb illustrations in this edition - what a pity!
  captbirdseye | Apr 28, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
Dedication
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
To
W. H. Auden
First words
My first impression was that the stranger's eyes were of an unusually light blue. They met mine for several blank seconds, vacant, unmistakably scared.
Quotations
"...the countries of Europe are nothing more or less than a collection of mousetraps. In some of them, the cheese is of superior quality, that is the only difference."
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Copies with the US title - The Last of Mr Norris - are combined with this work.
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099771411, Paperback)

First published in 1933, the novel portrays a series of encounters in Berlin between the narrator and the camp and mildly sinister Mr. Norris. Evoking the atmosphere in Berlin during the rise of the Nazis, the novel has achieved the status of a modern classic.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:39 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

After a chance encounter on a train the English teacher William Bradshaw starts a close friendship with the mildly sinister Arthur Norris. Norris is a man of contradictions; lavish but heavily in debt, excessively polite but sexually deviant. 'Mr Norris Changes Trains' evokes the atmosphere of Berlin during the rise of the Nazis.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
24 wanted
3 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (3.62)
0.5
1 1
1.5
2 4
2.5 5
3 28
3.5 20
4 41
4.5 4
5 11

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 107,580,630 books! | Top bar: Always visible