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  • Citywide Reads 2004


    Berlin Stories Book Cover


     "I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking." -- Christopher Isherwood

    The cabaret may be the metaphor for Berlin, but all is not entertainment in Christopher Isherwood’s vivid interpretation of pre-Hitler Germany in The Berlin Stories. Originally published as separate works, The Last of Mr. Norris (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939) can be read and appreciated independently. Pulled together, they present a cohesive unit of much greater significance. Our narrator, a young Englishman earning his living teaching English, transports the reader back in time to a city in the midst of upheaval. On one level, it can be read as a coming-of-age tale. But what resonates with the reader is Berlin’s climate of despair, unrest, and chaos. Isherwood's prescient observations are startling, especially in light of what we know follows.

    Click here for our The Berlin Stories resource guide (PDF).

    If you liked The Berlin Stories, you might like:

    Auden and Isherwood: The Berlin Years
    by Norman Page

    The Isherwood Century
    edited by James J. Berg & Chris Freeman

    by Christopher Isherwood


    Born in 1904 to a venerable British family, Isherwood preferred travel overseas to English country life. After studying at Oxford and befriending fellow students, and future fellow writers, W.H. Auden and Stephen Spender, he spent many years traveling, and in 1939 settled in Santa Monica, where he would stay for the remaining four decades of his life. During his years in Santa Monica, Isherwood continued to write novels and screenplays and to teach English in the state university system. In 1953, he met the artist Don Bachardy, who became the love of his life and his lifelong companion.

     Christopher Isherwood Author Photo





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