[[ EBOOK ]] ⇨ The Berlin Novels ☠ PDF eBook or Kindle ePUB free

The Last of Mr Norris 1935 3 stars Goodbye to Berlin 1939 4.5 starsI started this book before the events at Charlottesville unfortunately, it proved timely Based on his own experiences living in pre WWII Berlin, Isherwood writes of the Nazis being talked of, even laughed at, at first and by the book s end of their stalking the streets and terrorizing Jewish citizens, the police powerless to do anything about it For the most part, though, that s just the background and atmosphere cha The Last of Mr Norris 1935 3 stars Goodbye to Berlin 1939 4.5 starsI started this book before the events at Charlottesville unfortunately, it proved timely Based on his own experiences living in pre WWII Berlin, Isherwood writes of the Nazis being talked of, even laughed at, at first and by the book s end of their stalking the streets and terrorizing Jewish citizens, the police powerless to do anything about it For the most part, though, that s just the background and atmosphere character in both senses of the word is foremost in both of these works Yet it s because of what s going on in the background that the characters achieve their importance as they live their lives under, and in spite of, an increasing atmosphere of menace.Your response to Isherwood s characters will vary depending on your tolerance for characters , i.e eccentrics, for lack of a better word Mr Norris of the first novella is not the kind of character I warm to, though perhaps it isthat this is an earlier work than the other, and with the latter Isherwood found his voice In the second work, a collection of pieces that nevertheless make a coherent whole, the character of Sally Bowles is a revelation she is not Liza Minnelli at all and I was dismayed when her section ended not to worry, she makes oneappearance The other characters may not be as memorable as Sally though all Isherwood s female characters are remarkable , but they and their stories are all part of the stage upon which Isherwood always gives himself a minor role The author s preface tells of his first visit to Berlin since before the war, after the success of the Broadway play I Am a Camera, which was adapted from his story Sally Bowles and starred Julie Harris whom he thought wasSally than the real Sally During this 1952 visit, he hears the war stories of his indomitable former landlady, sees the places he d lived in and hopes someone will, one day, write the story of the new Berlin [[ EBOOK ]] ⇗ The Berlin Novels ☠ Mr Norris change 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 THE LAST OF MR NORRIS 3.5 GOODBYE TO BERLIN 4.25 When Christopher Isherwood left London for Germany in 1929, he was leaving the stifling moral environment of England for the freewheeling, decadent streets of Berlin where he could livefreely as not only a gay man but a young writer Over the next several years he lived and wrote in Berlin, exploring the city s underground culture and keeping notes on the interactions he had with the city and its inhabitants these notes he planned to tra THE LAST OF MR NORRIS 3.5 GOODBYE TO BERLIN 4.25 When Christopher Isherwood left London for Germany in 1929, he was leaving the stifling moral environment of England for the freewheeling, decadent streets of Berlin where he could livefreely as not only a gay man but a young writer Over the next several years he lived and wrote in Berlin, exploring the city s underground culture and keeping notes on the interactions he had with the city and its inhabitants these notes he planned to transform into a massive, sprawling novel that would be called THE LOST He was unable to do it Instead, he carved those diaries into two separate short novels, THE LAST OF MR NORRIS originally titled MR NORRIS CHANGES TRAINS and GOODBYE TO BERLIN These two books are often bundled together as one under the title of THE BERLIN STORIES Though the two novels are superficially very different, they share similar concerns In THE LAST OF MR NORRIS, Isherwood s semi autobiographical narrator, William Bradshaw, acts as a detached, Nick Carraway like observer of the strange escapades of one Arthur Norris, a mysterious British ex pat with an affinity for masochism, intrigue, and wigs Norris is also involved in an elaborate plot involving the Communist movement in Germany that briefly flared in the late 1920s and early 1930s before being crushed by Hitler when the Nazis rose to power Despite this ominous backdrop, the novel is rather delightful, with Bradshaw accompanying the delightfully wigged Norris on an at times dazzling tour of underground Berlin The plot, too, is underrated though very different, I was put in mind of the works of Isherwood s friend Raymond Chandler while reading Tangentially, when Isherwood and Chandler first met in LA, Isherwood came away wondering if Chandler was gay All this said, the novel is a bit thin and, if one were honest, not especially well constructed, with a number of characters peppered in like afterthoughts, appearing once early in the novel and then reappearing toward the end in a gesture toward tying up loose ends This I attribute to Isherwood s youth This same detached observer is present in GOODBYE TO BERLIN Indeed, Isherwood tells us as much in the opening paragraph of the novel I am a camera with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking This is misleading, as Isherwood s narrator actually thinks quite a lot throughout the novel and of course there is no such thing as narrative objectivity , leveling incisive judgments across the book s six chapters as he introduces us to Berlin s 1930s red light district and a cast of alternately quirky and doomed characters, including the infamous Sally Bowles, who would go on to be immortalized in the film Cabaret As with THE LAST OF MR NORRIS, the hysteria tinged nightclubs, underground bars, and restaurants of Berlin are the main characters of GOODBYE TO BERLIN, and there is a permeating sense of nostalgic melancholy that lends the novel a poignancy in light of what the reader knows and the narrator suspects will happen to everyone.Isherwood s writing is precise, witty, and thoroughly enjoyable What is most interesting about both novels is his delicate handling of homosexuality, which was illegal in his native England at the time of publication even in Berlin the patrons of the gay bars are perpetually on the lookout for raids Though it is quite apparent to even the least sophisticated reader that the majority of the male characters in these novels are either bisexual or homosexual, Isherwood never explicitly lets on to it, a stylistic tightrope walking act that provides an underlying tension throughout This subtle treatment adds to the other obvious tension in these novels the Nazi rise to power in the early 1930s Both books are littered with insights and observations that are terrifyingly prescient in retrospect and relevant to today In THE LAST OF MR NORRIS, the narrator describes the exhaustion of a public primed for a fascist takeover The Hessen Document documents discovered in 1932 that outlined Nazi plans for a forceful coup was discovered nobody really cared There had been one scandal too many The exhausted public had been fed with surprises to the point of indigestion And when the narrator urges a Jewish friend to take the Nazi threats on his businessseriously The Nazis may write like schoolboys, but they re capable of anything That s just why they re so dangerous People laugh at them, right up to the last moment it s impossible not to think of the talk show hosts, comedians, and majority of America who treated Trump s 2016 presidential campaign and presidency as a circus sideshow.Yet here, perhaps, is also where Isherwood s narrator as camera mode exposes its limits The faux objective narrative ultimately affords the narrator the privilege of distance, and at various times it felt as though the ominous rise of anti Semitic nationalism was treated almost glibly or as background inconveniences As Isherwood would later say What repels me now about Mr Norris is its heartlessness It is a heartless fairy story about a real city in which human beings were suffering the miseries of political violence and near starvation As for the monsters , they were quite ordinary human beings prosaically engaged in getting their living through illegal methods The only genuine monster was the young foreigner who passed gaily through these scenes of desolation, misinterpreting them to suit his childish fantasy Still, as a window into a remarkable period in German and world history, as well as an entr e into Isherwood s larger oeuvre, THE BERLIN STORIES is well worth reading Recently, I have had some interesting reading experiences with book choices for one of my Goodreads groups, Reading the 20th Century A recent read was Dorothy Whipple s, Someone at a Distance, which I initially thought would be boring, but found that I loved Meanwhile, on paper, The Berlin Novels, looked like the type of book which would appeal to me After all, despite the fact that I have watched virtually no films all the way through, I have seen, and enjoyed, Cabaret, which was taken Recently, I have had some interesting reading experiences with book choices for one of my Goodreads groups, Reading the 20th Century A recent read was Dorothy Whipple s, Someone at a Distance, which I initially thought would be boring, but found that I loved Meanwhile, on paper, The Berlin Novels, looked like the type of book which would appeal to me After all, despite the fact that I have watched virtually no films all the way through, I have seen, and enjoyed, Cabaret, which was taken from Isherwood s novellas Indeed, pre war Berlin is a delightful, literary place to spend time The sort of place where you can imagine Bernie Gunther propping up the bar at the Adlon, his eye on a pretty blonde and a nice, cool drink in his hand Therefore, it is doubly disappointing that I really didn t warm to this at all.The first novella in this is, Mr Norris Changes Trains, where William Bradshaw encounters the sinister Mr Arthur Norris, on a train to Berlin Despite Arthur s obviously dubious behaviour, the fact that virtually everyone he meets warns him to stay away from him, and some bizarre acquaintances, William seems determined to befriend him This did warm up once William heads to Switzerland, on a clandestine mission but, frankly, I wasn t that interested, or involved, in what would happen I hoped forfrom, Goodbye to Berlin, which involved a series of snapshots of Christopher Isherwood s time in Berlin There are familiar characters, such as Sally Bowles, and Isherwood spends time in various boarding houses, nightclubs and trips Oddly, while describing one character, Bernhard Landauer, Isherwood writes that he remained, remote from me his face impassive Most of the time, I felt this way about the author s portrayal of Berlin He reports on the rise of Nazism, of the changing face of Berlin, but he never seemed personally involved This book left me a little cold and I did not enjoy it although I am pleased that I finally read it It has shown me that reading groups can introduce you to some authors you would never otherwise try, and love taking me out of my reading comfort zone As such, I am delighted that Goodreads gives me the chance to interact with other readers, who constantly challenge and delight me, while introducing me to new authors I m reading this alongside Isherwood s memoir, Christopher and His Kind for an upcoming column on the film Cabaret So you might say I m getting all the ins and outs of Weimar Germany, and set to music, no less slaps own cheek Did I say that Isherwood s writing is so delightful, his characters so well drawn and his portrait of Berlin so fascinating that you almost miss the despair, particularly in Sally Bowles It s hard to read that story without seeing Liza Minelli in your mind s eye an I m reading this alongside Isherwood s memoir, Christopher and His Kind for an upcoming column on the film Cabaret So you might say I m getting all the ins and outs of Weimar Germany, and set to music, no less slaps own cheek Did I say that Isherwood s writing is so delightful, his characters so well drawn and his portrait of Berlin so fascinating that you almost miss the despair, particularly in Sally Bowles It s hard to read that story without seeing Liza Minelli in your mind s eye and hearing the soundtrack from the musical running through your head This isn t to say that there weren t dark elements in the movie, but they re not quite the same dark elements that Isherwood was working with in the 1930s, when he wrote The Berlin Stories.He d gone to Berlin in 1929 for one reason the boys He couldn t say this in the 1930s, when the stories were first published, or even in the 1950s, when a new edition came out He said it in Christopher and His Kind He was determined, finally, to be honest, to out himself fully A Single Man marks the beginning of this process I think it s the only book of mine where I didor less what I wanted to do, he said in a 1972 interview in Paris Review.ISHERWOODThe man in A Single Man is a stoic, a very back to the wall character.I really admire the sort of person that George is It isn t me at all Here is somebody who really has nothing to support him except a kind of gradually waning animal vitality, and yet he fights, like a badger, and goes on demanding, fighting for happiness That attitude I think rather magnificent If I were in George s place, I would think about killing myself because I m less than George George is heroic.INTERVIEWERWould you writeabout homosexuality if you were starting out now as a writer ISHERWOODYes, I d write about it a great deal It is an exceedingly interesting subject, and I couldn t, or I thought I couldn t, go into it It s interesting because it s so muchthan just homosexuality it s very precious in a way, however inconvenient it may be You see things from a different angle, and you see how everything is changed thereby.That s the thing the younger,circumspect Isherwood was terribly observant He may have gone for the boys, but he couldn t help seeing everything else that was in front of his eyes, the plight of other marginalized members of society especially His portrait of the severely repressed homosexual Bernhard Landauer, modeled, Isherwood tells us, on Wilfrid Israel, is complex, poignant And yet it was dishonest, the older Isherwood admits He s very hard on himself, for misrepresenting Wilfrid to make the story come out better The killing of Bernhard was merely a dramatic necessity In a novel such as this one, which ends with the outbreak of political persecution, one death at least is a must and Bernhard is the most appropriate victim, being a prominent Jew and for theserious sin of having projected onto the character his Christopher s own insecurities.I love Isherwood for his revisionism He doesn t blame himself for not having seen the Holocaust coming In fact, I think he finds this kind of foreshadowing which was evident in the film distasteful Certainly he witnessed troubling acts of violence against Jews, and Communists He describes these incidents, and the reactions of bystanders who muttered about the Nazis going too far this time without actually doing anything to stop them Allerhand, they say to one another, shaking their heads.At times, toward the end of Berlin Stories, he allows a note of outrage to mar the surface of his smooth narrative This morning, as I was walking down the B lowstrasse, the Nazis were raiding the house of a small liberal pacifist publisher They had brought a lorry and were piling it with the publisher s books The driver of the lorry mockingly read out the titles of the books to the crowd Nie Wieder Krieghe shouted, holding up one of them by the corner of the cover, disgustedly, as though it were a nasty kind of reptile Everybody roared with laughter No More War echoed a fat, well dressed woman, with a scornful, savage laugh What an idea Isherwood was a pacifist, a conscientious objector during World War II He worked with the Quakers in Pennsylvania, helping to resettle German speaking refugees, and settled permanently in the United States after the war He had the courage of his convictions, but he does not seem to have taken himself too seriously There s a joyfulness that comes through even when he is being harsh with himself Here s how he describes his working class lover Otto from The Nowaks in Christopher and his Kind His body became a tropical island on which they were snugly marooned in the midst of snowbound Berlin I will end here, with the sheer pleasure of reading Isherwood s prose UPDATE Aug 2106 tried again just as boring After starting with great expectations, I found The Berlin Stories to be incredibly boring The GR reviews of the book were farinteresting for me than the book itself I guess I like character development as an adjunct to a plot, but not so much all by itself I found no reason to care about the characters and the minutia of their lives, no matter how well described they were A pity, since so much was happening in Germany in the time UPDATE Aug 2106 tried again just as boring After starting with great expectations, I found The Berlin Stories to be incredibly boring The GR reviews of the book were farinteresting for me than the book itself I guess I like character development as an adjunct to a plot, but not so much all by itself I found no reason to care about the characters and the minutia of their lives, no matter how well described they were A pity, since so much was happening in Germany in the time period of the stories early to mid 1930s Hope I haven t hurt anyone s feelings This was again a new author for me and I found I quite enjoyed reading this The first of the novellas the Last of Mr Norris reminded me very much of Travels with My Aunt Mr Norris who our narrator a version of Isherwood meets on a train is a reprobate, and his dealings and connections , almost always dubious But our narrator takes to him in a sense and finds himself amidst sometimes as a mere observer, but at othersinvolved Norris life and friends all with varying degrees of eccen This was again a new author for me and I found I quite enjoyed reading this The first of the novellas the Last of Mr Norris reminded me very much of Travels with My Aunt Mr Norris who our narrator a version of Isherwood meets on a train is a reprobate, and his dealings and connections , almost always dubious But our narrator takes to him in a sense and finds himself amidst sometimes as a mere observer, but at othersinvolved Norris life and friends all with varying degrees of eccentricity as Norris drifts from periods of relative luxury to penury, to places seedy or politically charged, but mostly from trouble to trouble which seems to follow no matter where he goes His adventures and misadventures are colourful, at times not particularly appealing, at others somewhat funny, but you can t help but also feel a little sadness The second novella Goodbye to Berlin, I found muchmelancholy throughout This isa collection of Isherwood s stories, of his memories of Berlin just before the time Hitler came into power the Nazis looming in the background seem so muchprominent in this collection than the first book of people, families, and places Parts of Berlin seem to be crumbling, political struggles are on the communists and Nazis both fighting for power, violence and hate in the atmosphere , others are simply struggling to make ends meet, some are coping with the hate that is spreading, and some with their personal struggles Though there is a feeling of sadness in most of their stories, most of these people are eccentric in their own ways may beso than the first book , and they are all unique and interesting they struggle but their struggles draw one in, make one read on What makes the book feel muchsombre is the fact that you can t get the thoughts of what is to come out of your mind as you read So it really is a goodbye to Berlin, capturing various facets that were, and that weren t likely to ever be again.Large parts of the book are descriptive and because of this I was surprised at the pace it always moves, paints vivid pictures, and keeps you reading even where for instance, he is writing about a club that has probably seen better days but is fighting on, putting up a brave face, going into action the moment some hope in the form of promising customers steps in I probably may not have picked this up if it hadn t been selected for a group read, but I came away quite glad that I read it Excellent account of author s experience in Weimer s Germany the start of Hitler s reign.I find a lot of my books after hearing about them on OTR, generally when I hear the book adaption presented on these older radio shows I was first introduced to Christopher Isherwood this way had no idea that he wrote the book behind the the theatrical I Am a Camera 1951 Cabaret Broadway musical 1966 film 1972 Prater Violet was portrayed on OTR but I decided on The Berlin Stories first Excellent account of author s experience in Weimer s Germany the start of Hitler s reign.I find a lot of my books after hearing about them on OTR, generally when I hear the book adaption presented on these older radio shows I was first introduced to Christopher Isherwood this way had no idea that he wrote the book behind the the theatrical I Am a Camera 1951 Cabaret Broadway musical 1966 film 1972 Prater Violet was portrayed on OTR but I decided on The Berlin Stories first since it sounded really interesting I also have other works of his younger years on my to read list on Goodreads Isherwood was an Englishman who later became a naturalized American citizen born in 1904, so he was in his twenties when he was living in the Weimar Republic Isherwood was a homosexual it is interesting how he mentions some friends being gay but he only jokingly mentioned this about himself we are uncertain of his sexual stance He lives in the Berlin district that is friendly to the gay lifestyle since the turn of the twentieth century thus attracts him to Berlin This is not the important thing in my view but what I like is his analogy in one of his stories where he was like a camera recording events to be printed later deciphered later All his stories in this book are from his experiences with people he met in Berlin during the early 1930 s He gives the reality of the poverty, sexual morals decline, the rise of anti semitism, the competing ideologies SDP, Communism Naziism society in general in Germany I learnedabout the events unknown to me before that contributed to the rise of Hitler s Germany which Isherwood highlights The Berlin Stories are a collection of his works novel written in 1935 Mr Norris Changes Trains Goodbye to Berlin 1939 Mr Norris Changes Trains is about an older man named Arthur who young William meets becomes friends with but finds out that he is an opportunist in the end but with quite an interesting road to finding that out He shows how Communism Nazism are taken in by many Germans during theses tough post World War 1 years.Goodbye to Berlin has several short stories which have some overlapping in other stories due to the people he is writing about show up there when significant but fresh in content.A Berlin Diary 1930 tells of his land lady the people who boarded with Chris, one being a prostitute.Sally Bowles this is based on his friendship with a loose woman who wants to be an actress has almost zero morals The abortion section of this story had me very depressed Cabaret was based on this short story.On Reuben Island summer 1931 this story is about Chris 2 other boys who are spending time as friends on this Island It is interesting in the personalities of Peter Otto which are different as night day.The Nowaks is Otto family Chris friendship with this poor family.The Laundauers a Jewish family well to do store owners family who Chris starts to be friendly with especially the daughter Natalia the nephew Bernhard.A Berlin Diary Winter 1932 1933 Chris sees the increase tension of all the political parties, his political friends things he saw on the streets All these stories gave an inside into Germany of this time how it was able to close their eyes to all the atrocities Not justifying anything because that can never be justified It just so sad how a society can decline to such a degree when morals are also in such a state also mixed with poverty, principles are no longer clear as they were before because things are no longer seen as black white Excerpts The pension was run by a happy go lucky Englishman, who used to laugh at my industry and tell me I ought to go swimming, while I was still young, After all, old boy, I mean to say, will it matter a hundred years from now if you wrote that yarn or not Yet she had been through as bad a time as any average Berliner serious illness, poverty forcing her to move to this much smaller flat, where she nevertheless had to have one lodger in the only spare bedroom and sleeping in the kitchen then the war, and the last awful year of bombing, when she and the other tenants almost continuously in the cellar There were forty or fifty of us down there We used to hold each other in our arms and say at least we d all die together I can tell you, Herr Issyvoo, we prayed so much we quite religious The town was full of whispers The told of illegal midnight arrest, of prisoners tortured in the S.A barracks, made to split on Lenin s picture, swallow castor oil, eat old socks They were drowned by the loud, angry voice of the Government, contradicting through it thousand mouths There s lots of old scores being paid off nowadays, This was the climax of my dream the instant of nightmare in which it would end I had an absurd pang of fear that they were going to attack us a gang of terrifying soft muffled shapes clawing us from our seats, dragging us hungrily down, in dead silence But the moment passed They drew back harmless, after all, as mere ghosts into the darkness, while our bus, with a great churning of its wheels, lurched forward towards the city, through the deep unseen snow By this time, dozens of people were looking on They seemed surprised but not particularly shocked this sort of thing happened too often nowadays Allerhand they murmured Twenty yards away, at the Potsdamerstrasse corner, stood a group of heavily armed policemen With their chests out, and their hands on the revolver belts, they magnificently disregarded the whole affair Only a week since I wrote the above Scleicher has resigned The monocles did their stuff Hitler has formed a cabinet with Hugenberg Nobody thinks it can last till the spring The newspapers are becomingandlike copies of a school magazine There is nothing in them but new rules, new punishments, and lists of people who have been kept in This morning Goring has invented three fresh varieties of high treason It s no use trying to explain to her, or talking politics Already she is adapting herself, as she will adapt herself to every new regime This morning I heard her talking reverently about Der Fuhrer to the porter s wife If anyone were to remind her that, at the elections last November, she voted communist, she would probably deny it hotly, and in perfect good faith She is merely acclimatizing herself, in accordance with a natural law, like an animal which change it s coat for the winter Whilst I wasn t quite fanciful enough to expect Liza Minnelli and the Kit Kat Klub to be lurking among these pages, I did expect something a bitwell,For me, the power of The Berlin Novels lies solely in the combined temporal and geographical setting the glittering metropolis of Berlin in the heady tail end of Weimar Germany It was a place of ostentation, sexual deviance and poverty but desperate to reassert itself as an important modern city on the comeback from defeat and hype Whilst I wasn t quite fanciful enough to expect Liza Minnelli and the Kit Kat Klub to be lurking among these pages, I did expect something a bitwell,For me, the power of The Berlin Novels lies solely in the combined temporal and geographical setting the glittering metropolis of Berlin in the heady tail end of Weimar Germany It was a place of ostentation, sexual deviance and poverty but desperate to reassert itself as an important modern city on the comeback from defeat and hyperinflation All the while it was teetering on the brink of destruction the Nazis and the Communists battled it out for power, shootings and riots were a normal occurrence and unemployment was rife What makes this novel so especially contextually fascinating is that it s a thinly disguised first hand account of not only the hedonism of cabarets and nightclubs, but the political situation at possibly the most pivotal point in history Isherwood was drawn to the sexually overt culture of Berlin, seeking an escape from his very conservative and very English upbringing Let me give credit where it is due his descriptions of the nightlife are wonderfully vibrant and the colourful cast of characters are mostly entertaining What didn t work for me was the excessively detached style and the fact that references to the political situation appeared mostly as exposition, lacking the subtlety and nuance that Cabaret delivered so well.Despite having raved about the setting, I can safely say that this was the only redemptive quality Or, to put itfinely, my main criticism is the plot or lack of it Goodbye to Berlin comprises of six separate vignettes of life in and around Berlin, encompassing people of different class, sexuality, gender and nationality Isherwood s claim that they are loosely connected is a little specious the links are tenuous Characters make guest appearances outside of their dedicated narrative, but that s about it I don t think that the vignette style entirely worked given that there was very little by way of compelling relationships or characters, elements that might otherwise have drawn some emotional investment The interesting, witty or entertaining titbits or anecdotes were few and far between I found some sections endlessly tedious and tiresome Considering the madness and danger that charged the city at the time, this was shockingly sedate in places Mr Norris Changes Trains isn t muchthan a lukewarm and meandering character study that only ever dances round the themes of betrayal and political intrigue Whilst the friendship wink wink between the hapless Bradshaw and urbane Norris is entertaining, it always felt superficial Throughout the entire novel, the relationship remains an ongoing enigma Norris was potentially a very interesting character he is himself a conundrum, a man of contradictions why on earth would he even befriend Bradshaw in the first place But the mystery that surrounds Norris is never entirely fruitful his motives aren t clarified and Isherwood never gets to the crux of the Norris Schmidt hoo ha In essence, the teasing intrigue doesn t mature into anything truly gripping or satisfying.A little underwhelming, even with the benefit of historical hindsight I thoroughly, thoroughly enjoyed the accounts of wild raves and Isherwood s uncanny prescience, but ultimately I expectedfrom a time so enriched with flourishing creativity and political instability Cabaret, in contrast, is an absolute masterpiece it extrapolates so powerfully from Isherwood s account and is genuinely one of the most moving films I have ever seen please, please watch it I fell in love with Isherwood earlier this year when I read A Single Man So I couldn t resist when the book club chose The Berlin Stories Even though I was vastly overcommitted I did it anyway And I m glad.It s not as dark as so much pre WWII writing is That s because most pre WWII writing was written post WWII and takes a look at the oncoming darkness head on With Isherwood it really seeps in so slowly you don t notice.It is a very youthful book, full of the kind of blase naivete that is I fell in love with Isherwood earlier this year when I read A Single Man So I couldn t resist when the book club chose The Berlin Stories Even though I was vastly overcommitted I did it anyway And I m glad.It s not as dark as so much pre WWII writing is That s because most pre WWII writing was written post WWII and takes a look at the oncoming darkness head on With Isherwood it really seeps in so slowly you don t notice.It is a very youthful book, full of the kind of blase naivete that isn t anything like innocence It is full of prostitutes, pimps, criminals and communists It was one of the few times I wasn t annoyed out of my mind by a non entity narrator Perhaps because the rotating cast of characters are so interesting Even the ridiculous Mr Norris I can t explain why it is that Isherwood and I connect We just do And I m content to leave it at that