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4.3 out of 5 stars66
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 28 February 2014
This is nothing like Berlin Diary by William L Shirer although both cover the later part of the 1930s, it is not punchy and does not contain Shirer's more global perspective ot the pre-war events in Germany.

However, it is charming and well written and good enough to make me want to read more by Herr Issyvoo (the name his landlady called Isherwood). To sum up, the autobiography of a young man, slightly dreamy, living the life of an impoverished student in Berlin to learn German and surviving by teaching English he describes his encounters with the demi-monde and the rich alike, all sorts of strange characters, with a rare perception.
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on 16 August 2013
Although you can see many of the characters from Cabaret here, they are far grittier than the ones in the film. Christopher's life in Berlin is in many ways harsh, at one stage lodging with a dysfunctional family at others living virtually from hand to mouth. I bought this because I've seem Cabaret and enjoyed it immensely, don't read it for that reason, read it because it's about an odd man, living in a unique city at a mad time in history.
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on 17 March 2013
I'll make this a short review because I mostly agree with the other 4 & 5 star reviewers.

I really enjoyed this book, I haven't seen Caberet so I had no expectations while reading it. what I was looking for was a first hand account of Berlin in the 30s. Weimar Berlin is very interesting and I have a particular fascination with the modern incarnation of the city, but in order to know a place well one needs to get a feel for the history of that place. Isherwood was actually in Berlin in 1929 and spent a lot of time there, and although this book is fictional, I suspect that it is very largely based on real experiences. I read on wikipedia that "In 1931 he met Jean Ross the inspiration for his fictional character, Sally Bowles." I LOVE Sally Bowles, I can relate to this section of the book well, because I know someone very like her. I was grinning inanely through most of that chapter.

I got EXACTLY what I was looking for with this book. He created a very vivid picture of 30's Berlin and I found it very easy to read. He is not overly descriptive with little details about how the city looks etc but he conveys the tone of the city through it's people, who were very vivid in my mind.
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on 21 November 2013
well picked this book up not knowing what to expect and could not put it down again until i finished it... great read..
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VINE VOICEon 9 August 2004
After a couple of false starts, I was able to finally finish this book. I read it because I had seen "Cabaret" the movie and the play. I have not seen the play "I am a Camera" by Erik Von Deutten. However, I expected a faster moving story and really had to drudge through this. There are moments that you can identify with. However for the most part you feel like a third party. You may not want to identify with some of the characters.

Whatever is supposed to make this book good is lost in the details.

Well I read it but I am not sure I want to read anymore of his book. I feel a little cheated when one describes his use of English and the book is over before you find this. I feel a little embarrassed at not liking it with the praise it receives, but I guess you cannot like them all.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 31 October 2011
At long last this classic of 1930's literature is available on Kindle. Like most novels it lends itself well to the new medium and is a book I shall keep on hand to dip into when the fancy takes me.

Those looking for a novelisation of the 'Cabaret' movie may be disappointed to learn that the story of Sally Bowles occupies only one section of a fairly short book. Also, there are few descriptions in general terms of life in what would soon be Hitler's Germany. However, by giving us superbly drawn vignettes from the day to day lives of those soon to be under threat from National Socialism we soon get an idea of how bad things will prove to be.

This little book is widely and correctly acclaimed as a modern classic but it is not Cabaret without the songs.
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An excellent story about life in Berlin in the late 1920s and early 1930s. It is almost biographal story from Isherwood of his life in Berlin at that period.

This is a wonderful book to read as it explores the underbelly of Berlin life, and it is easy to see why the musical Cabaret grew from this short novel. You can feel the anxiety of Berlin with the rise of Hitler and the Nazis who are in the background of this book. The book also shows off some of the hedonistic life that was plentyful in Berlin prior to Hitler becoming Chancellor.

You will be lost with the narrator around Berlin and the life that he lead while he was in Berlin and can feel his loss when he leaves and returns to London.

A wonderful and fun book.
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on 8 November 2009
Not much happens in the book in terms or plot or action but that is the whole point. Isherwood has captured the social social and economic plight of Berlin and indeed Europe. The characters are indepth and full of richness. Recommended!
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on 11 June 2010
f F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote super-amazingly about the Jazz Age, Goodbye to Berlin is like the working/middle-class version. This series of stories -- not quite a novel, more connected first-person accounts of various people who lived in Berlin before the Nazis came to power -- was a quiet read. It doesn't have great emotion and heartrending scenes of despair in any way and unlike Fitzgerald (again, I have a real bee in my bonnet about how he's just not that great), Isherwood's chosen subjects are much more relatable than Daisy and Tom or Dick and Nicole.

(A wee tip for the Darcy fans: read this after watching A Single Man and imagine Colin Firth's voice reading it aloud. It's brilliant.)
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on 5 January 2013
We had only really touched upon some works of literature and drama from the Roaring Twenites in school. The usual set tests were the Great Gatsby, and A Streetcar named Desire - but I still wanted to explore more. When I was studying Weimar German culture at University, I came across Isherwood's work and I must say I am in love with this writing style.

This book is not too over bearing, it does jump around a little bit - but, it is nothing too challenging. I would really recommended it to anyone who fancies taking glimpse onto life in a changing Germany.
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