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A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

A Single Man (1964)

by Christopher Isherwood (Author)

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A brief, terrifying and funny meditation on loss, living and what the point of it all is. On how we manufacture meaning in our lives, how we manage to keep on going when we've past our peak and how to live a life while facing up to these big and daunting questions.

There's no real plot here, just the unfolding of a day in the life of George, a gay, middle-aged university lecturer whose partner has recently died. He's by turns bitter, funny, joyous, angry and resigned - it's a beautiful character study. ( )
  mjlivi | Feb 2, 2016 |
Isherwood as an island or one day in the life of a rather boring and closeted professor. Death in Venice set in California. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
Re-reading after several years and still enjoy this book very much ( )
  mari_reads | Dec 5, 2015 |
An intimate, poignant novella describing a single day in the life of George, an English college professor living in California. A year after the death of his partner Jim, he is still trying to recover from the loss. Isherwood's writing is excellent, portraying George's roller coaster of emotion; a melancholy spirit that would dearly love to feel joy again.

The Guardian puts this at number 83 on the 100 Best Novels list. It is well-deserved. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Oct 16, 2015 |
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood; (4*)

A Single Man is the recounting of one day in the life of George, a professor, from the moment he wakes up to when he goes back to bed.
Isherwood's prose is beautiful and he writes with the ability of one who sees humanity in and with all of it's blights and imperfections.
This day in the life of George, who is grieving the unexpected and untimely loss of his life partner Jim, proves itself to be mundane and yet moving at the same time. There is a sense of melancholy and loss that pervades this work from George's awakening in the morning through dressing for work. The reader gets the impression of a soul clothed in a body, clothed in a suit, clothed in persona designed to function in a world in which he does not quite fit and does not quite feel accepted. (I found this part of the book to be very relatable to any reader who feels parts of their lives to be rejected or to be a nonentity of society.)
George's only recourse to his bereavement is to keep on going as he always has and find a safety net in that routine. As such the book focuses on the mundane details of George's day to day life. It describes his walk to the university, lecturing the students, the small interactions he has with people. I think that is the strength of the book. The story is a very intimate portrayal of grief, loneliness and how these emotions can touch even the smallest of parts of one's life.
It's a stark narrative. George felt as if he could be my neighbor, my friend, my brother.
I found the book to be engaging, sensitive, and haunting; a very reasonable portrayal of the subject matter. ( )
  rainpebble | Sep 24, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0816638624, Paperback)


The author's favorite of his own novels, now back in print!

When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life; the course of A Single Man spans twenty-four hours in an ordinary day. An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness. Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the texture of life itself.

"A testimony to Isherwood's undiminished brilliance as a novelist." Anthony Burgess

"An absolutely devastating, unnerving, brilliant book." Stephen Spender

"Just as his Prater Violet is the best novel I know about the movies, Isherwood's A Single Man, published in 1964, is one of the first and best novels of the modern gay liberation movement." Edmund White

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:51 -0400)

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After the sudden death of his longtime lover, George must adjust to life on his own as a professor in Southern California in the early 1960s. During the course of an ordinary day, George is haunted by memories as he seeks connections with the world around him--Publisher's description.… (more)

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