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Austen to Zafón

Reading widely since 1972.

Currently reading

A London Family, 1870-1900: A Trilogy
Molly Hughes
The Cellist of Sarajevo
Steven Galloway
Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher
Lewis Thomas
All the Names
José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa
A History of the World in 100 Objects
Neil MacGregor
Down the Garden Path
Beverley Nichols
Virtue Betray'd, Or, Anna Bullen
John Banks
Year of Wonders
Geraldine Brooks
Swallows and Amazons
Arthur Ransome
Illusion in java
Gene Fowler
A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood I saw the movie and enjoyed it, but there was something about it that left me wanting more. Or maybe less. At any rate, I wanted to read the book. I have to say that I ended up liking both, for different reasons. In both the book and the movie, we follow George through a single day. An aging, British, gay man living and teaching in L.A., George is grieving over the sudden loss of his partner. There the similarity ends. In the movie, Ford has George planning his suicide (leaving notes for people, getting out a gun, etc), which changes the whole feel of the story. Also, his George is somewhat comic (for example, struggling to get inside a sleeping bag so that shooting himself won't make a mess for his maid) and more gentle in his views of others. Isherwood's George is just trying to get through his days, to find some reason for going on, for enjoying the feel of being alive. He sets himself little chores of memorization or reading. He charges himself up for the day by thinking of himself as a player of a part, a dry British intellectual teaching in a witty and charming ways, making entrances, being friendly. But another part of Isherwood's George is filled with hatred and anger. This distinctly less charming aspect of George isn't shown in the film but I think it makes George more real and more tragic. You sense that his partner had helped mitigate that aspect of him because of his kindness and his ease in the world and without that, George has a harder time. The scene of Charley and George having dinner is pretty true to the book, but in the book, Charley isn't beautiful and suave; she's chunky and not very fashionable and I think that makes her more sympathetic, although I *love* Julianne Moore and thought she did a good job. I guess whether you liked the movie or not, it would be worth it to read the book. Isherwood is a marvelous writer.