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A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

A Single Man (1964)

by Christopher Isherwood (Author)

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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. ( )
  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 |
La película me pareció una sucesión de imágenes bellas (los actores atractivos , la fotografía hermosa , las tomas que te sacan el aliento , etc)

El libro .... No es malo , claro que no , PEEEERO , no me produjo la misma emoción que el film .

Acuerdense , SIEMPRE hay que leer el libro antes de ver la adaptación . ( )
  LaMala | Jun 7, 2015 |
A SINGLE MAN, by Christopher Isherwood.

I've never read anything by Isherwood before, but ever since this book and its film adaptation was much in the entertainment news, I've wanted to read it. Now I have, and I found it quite moving in a very effective and decidedly unsentimental fashion.

Protagonist George is a fifty-something homosexual college English prof in southern California at the end of 1962, just after the Cuban missile crisis standoff. His long-time lover, Jim, has recently died, leaving him devastated, feeling isolated and alone, unable to discuss or express his grief because gay relationships were still very much "in the closet" then. The story covers a single twenty-four hour period in George's life as he goes through his usual day of teaching - an Orwell novel to a group of largely indifferent students - going to the gym, then to the supermarket, followed by a very long night of drinking, feeling a bit sorry for himself, and trying to figure things out. After a long evening of dinner and drinking with a woman, Charlotte, who is a neighbor and a friend, possibly the only one who knew about George's relationship with Jim, and the depth of his grief. There is a sad scene here, where Charlotte entreats George to tell her again about the dream George and Jim had of buying a pub in England and living there. Charlotte's husband left her years ago and now her only son has left home for good. Her "Tell me again - PLEASE, Geo!" struck me as even more poignant in its echoes of Lenny and George and the story of the farm, and the "bunnies" in OF MICE AND MEN.

George's long night culminates with more drinking with one of his students, a naked swim in the Pacific surf, followed by a truth-telling encounter between the two at George's home.

A short book that can be read in just a few hours, A SINGLE MAN is a fascinating glimpse into the life of one gay man, angry, grieving, and lonely. Isherwood has been gone now for nearly thirty years, but many of his books remain in print and continue to be read. That tells you something. He was a gifted and searingly honest writer. Highly recommended. ( )
  TimBazzett | May 14, 2015 |
A novel that is by turns funny, dark, thought-provoking, hopeful and sad. At all times the author maintains a refreshing and unusual intimacy of focus. We follow the George, a middle aged professor through his day, listening to his thoughts and seeing his life first hand. George is struggling with the sudden death of his partner Jim - a loss only exacerbated by his inability to truly share it with anyone. All his neighbors think that Jim is on an extended visit to his parents.

What is most touching is that even as George tries and fails to connect with those around him, we witness his passion for living and the simple joy he takes in his habits. This novel encompasses a single day, leaving the reader feeling deeply connected to George and touched by his life. Beautifully crafted and executed. ( )
  Juva | Apr 7, 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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