The Berlin Novels: "Mr Norris Changes Trains", "Goodbye to Berlin"Paperback Vintage Classics
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- Publisher: VINTAGE
- Format: Paperback | 512 pages
- Dimensions: 130mm x 196mm x 36mm | 358g
- Publication date: 1 July 2010
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0749397020
- ISBN 13: 9780749397029
- Edition: 10000
- Edition statement: New edition.
- Sales rank: 26,965
"Mr Norris Changes Trains": The first of Christopher Isherwood's classic 'Berlin' novels, this portrays the encounter and growing friendship between young William Bradshaw and the urbane and mildly sinister Mr Norris. Piquant, witty and oblique, it vividly evokes the atmosphere of pre-war Berlin, and forcefully conveys an ironic political parable. "Goodbye to Berlin": The inspiration for the stage and screen musical Cabaret and for the play "I Am a Camera", this novel remains one of the most powerful of the century, a haunting evocation of the gathering storm of the Nazi terror. Told in a series of wry, detached and impressionistic vignettes, it is an unforgettable portrait of bohemian Berlin - a city and a world on the very brink of ruin.
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Christopher Isherwood was born at High lane, Cheshire, in 1904. He left Cambridge without graduationg, tried briefly to study medicine and in 1928 published All the Conspirators, followed by a second novel, The Memorial in 1932. From 1928 onwards he lived mostly out of England: four years in Berlin, five in various European countries including Portugal, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. In 1939 he went to California, which became his home for the rest of his life. His Berlin experiences produced two novels, Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). Isherwood worked with the American Friends Service Committee during part of the war. In 1946 he became a US citizen. Following his move to America he wrote five novels - Prater Violet, The World in the Evening, Down There on a Visit, A Single Man and A Meeting by the River; a travel book about South America, The Condor and the Cows; and Ramakrishna and his Disciples, a biography of the great Indian mystic. In 1971 he published Kathleen and Frank, a book based on the correspondence of his parents and his mother's diary, in 1977 Christopher and his Kind, an autobiographical account of the years 1929 to 1939, and in 1980 My Guru and His Disciple, the story of his friendship with the Swami Prabhavananda. He died in 1986.
"Isherwood is one of the great mythmakers of his time. The Berlin Novels are masterpieces, funny, darkly innocent explorations of a world Berlin in the Thirties that is now as firmly in the past as Pompeii" Observer "Mr Norris Changes Trains is a masterpiece in comic portraiture" Guardian "In Mr Norris Changes Trains, Isherwood sketches with the lightest of touches the last gasp of the decaying demi-monde and the vigorous world of Communists and Nazis, grappling with each other on the edge of the abyss" Sunday Telegraph "Reading Goodbye to Berlin is much like overhearing anecdotes in a crowded bar while history knocks impatiently at the windows." Guardian
I bought my copy of these in Berlin in 1977. The stories have been a play and a film, or at least Goodbye to Berlin has, but a reading of the true works brings an even greater joy. They are quite amazingly immediate, even though Mr Norris Changes Trains was written first, in 1934, and Sally Bowles, as it was originally called before it was filmed as Cabaret, was written later, in 1937. Finally the complete Goodbye to Berlin was published in 1939. They are still perfect, marvellously told, as glittering and startling as the people who inhabit them as the people who inhabit them. Review by the late Dirk Bogarde, actor and writer (Kirkus UK)