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A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood
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A Single Man (original 1964; edition 2009)

by Christopher Isherwood, Simon Prebble (Reader)

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1,189486,747 (4.04)64
Member:bookishbunny
Title:A Single Man
Authors:Christopher Isherwood
Other authors:Simon Prebble (Reader)
Info:HighBridge Company (2009), Edition: Unabridged; 4.75 hours on 4 CDs, Audio CD
Collections:Your library, To read
Rating:****
Tags:audio

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A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood (Author) (1964)

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Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
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 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
This review is way too late in the writing!

So many of us get caught up in life as we see it through our own eyes, and though we may, on the surface, empathize with our fellow humans we know face challenges, whether they be due to race, religion, or sexual orientation, it's still hard to really put ourselves in their place. This story is an exercise in empathy, sharing the quiet, lonely struggles of a man living in a world that doesn't fully embrace who he is. ( )
  bookishbunny | Jan 10, 2015 |
A beautiful little novella that's far more focussed on character, thought and ambience than it is on plot - and is thus difficult to describe or review in any meaningful way. This was my first Isherwood - and most definitely not my last - and is pretty much a 'day in the life' of George, a British college professor living in Los Angeles. He is still mourning the (fairly) recent loss of his partner Jim, and finds himself irreparably estranged from the world: from his neighbours and colleagues, because of his sexuality, and from his students, because of his age. He spends his time perfecting his outer façade, searching for understanding, reflecting on life, and fielding the neuroses of his larger-than-life friend Charlotte. It's gorgeously written and quietly devastating, and I plan to watch the film soon because if it's even NEARLY as good as this, it's going to be something special... ( )
  elliepotten | Oct 24, 2014 |
This is one of those books that came to me by chance. And thank goodness it did!!

The truth (and humor) of this middle-aged, a bit eccentric, British literature professor is touching. From explaining the difficulties of simply waking up in the morning, to living without your partner...it's touching.

The book almost sounds like a memior, and the truthfulness of the main character is shocking. Revealing the thoughts and actions that...you wouldn't really fess up to.

A fantastic read.
( )
  csweder | Jul 8, 2014 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0816638624, Paperback)

Fiction

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:36 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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)

(summary from another edition)

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