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A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

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Jan. 26th, 2010 | 10:09 am

I'll be 47 soon, which is a good age to have just finished A Single Man. I recommend that you read this book. It's short, it takes place in 24 hours, sort of like a a gay Ulysses. I haven't seen the movie, but what I've seen in previews and from friends' recommendations seems altered or transformed from what the book laid out. In the book, the character of George doesn't live amongst glamour, in fact instead of luxurious decor and appointments, the real appeal of his life is that he's free from materialist concerns. The funniest passages of the book contrast American preoccupations with ephemeral consumerism to the European over vaunted emphases on pedigree and provenance.

The book is full of pages that you want to read out loud to other people. Smart and funny and perceptive observations about what it means to be gay, and focused on art, and how being discreet to be kind becomes a tedious habit. It's the first novel I'd really like to buy in bulk to give out to all my compadres and straight girlfriends, because if they couldn't "get it" from that book, I wouldn't know what else to choose.

Christopher Isherwood, 1959 (S. Roth)

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Comments {4}


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from: mlr
date: Jan. 26th, 2010 04:37 pm (UTC)

I"m fond of it too -- I first read it in 1978 and again in the 80s - both a long time ago. I saw the movie in December. They did change the tone quite a bit, and the ending. The movie has a depressed air about it, and that's not the way I remember the book.

I've read most of his other books as well. One you might like is 'My Guru and his disciple'. And in fact I have made gifts of both of these books.

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from: tkn1114
date: Jan. 29th, 2010 06:09 am (UTC)

What about the Tom Ford film? I saw a peek preview here. Looks good, thanks greatly to cinematography and Colin Firth. But I was gonna write a post to bash Tom Ford on something else.

So tell me what you think of the movie if/when you've seen it.

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from: stivalineri
date: Jan. 29th, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)

I will, did you see Julianne Moore in "Savage Grace"? she was really good in that playing a very strange woman.

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from: tkn1114
date: Jan. 30th, 2010 02:58 am (UTC)

I am so unconvinced when Americans have sex on or off-screen '-.) Even in a "troubled" scenario.


There is a preoccupation of "how to mske it intriguing" that makes the whole thing un-naturally over-serious, thus tedious and predictable. I know it's supposed to be a "disturbing" scene and topic, but I am more irate than disturbed "-/ afterwards, because of how they do it.

Now, if she was to bend down and suckle on whatever cum that comes out of him and, then lays her head down next to him, I would have been willing to buy more. And I'm not just saying that to be provocative. I think the detailing of the act(s) of a deranged person needs to be there in that kind of scene and film topic.

I don't think it's the kind of movie Americans should make. Maybe Roman Polanski, or someone who's immune to this consciousness of sexual taboo and social degeneracy (of the rich) which so typical of, because it's so deeply-rooted in American culture.

Gossiping of the rich has never been a strong attraction to me. I can write a tome or 2 about the stories I heard during the years at my shop Island in Houston. They're often more banal than intriguing.

Isherwood is a little bit different. He ran with them but I don't think ever became them, did he? Even if he seemed a lot duller than Tennessee Williams or Gore Vidal, none of these people ever became part of the banal rich. They only ran with them.

Do you know what I mean?

Anyhoo... :-.p

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