Goodbye To Berlin Paperback – 2 Nov 1989
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"A brilliant semi-autobiographical account of early 1930’s Berlin." (Lonely Planet Magazine)
"A great talent" (Guardian)
"Isherwood is a master of the emotionally cathartic moment, funny and perspicacious" (Evening Standard)
"A masterpiece" (The Economist)
"[A] reminder of a bygone era, powerfully capturing the energy and sleaze of Weimar-era Berlin" (Independent)
'The best prose writer in English' Gore VidalSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps it is the way Isherwood writes with a remarkable lack of ego - as his famous quote states, events are captured as objectively as a camera records light onto a photographic film. This does not mean he is impassive; quite the opposite. His desire is clearly to record a fragile time exactly as it was. Nobody knows the outcome of history until it happens, and the rise of the Nazi party as told here is all the more horrifying, as we experience it as the people themselves must have done - first a fringe party regarded as little more than a joke, then as rulers of the country, in a frighteningly short space of time.
Although it's small and perfectly formed, you'll never want it to end. Isherwood's original intention was to include these episodes in a much larger opus about Germany in the Weimar Republic, but there's something about the fragmented quality of the eventual book which is perfectly suited to its subject matter.
It takes pride of place in my library.
Berlin was still a charming city of broad avenues, parks and cafés during this period. It was also a grotesque metropolis of night-people, visionaries, political fanatics - a place filled with intrigue, where vice and virtue were found in abundance - more of the former than the latter. 1930s Berlin was a powerful city of mobs and millionaires. And it was one huge salon, a center of European intellectual life where the arts and sciences flourished. This is the scene which provides a backdrop for Isherwood's stories.
The six "Goodbye To Berlin" stories form a relatively continuous narrative. In "A Berlin Diary - Autumn 1930," Isherwood introduces the reader to his landlady, the infamous Fraulein Schroeder, "Schroederschen," who calls him Herr Issyvoo. She is able to recite a history of her former lodgers by looking at the spots, stains and spillages left behind on her furniture, carpets and linens. Fellow flatmates include: Frl.Read more ›
The sense of Berlin's eminent change builds up momentum throughout the novel- at the start it is difficult to imagine the city Isherwood is writing about is soon to lose a vast amount of its population to the camps, the army or the bombs and most of its buildings destroyed. The light-hearted section detailing Sally Bowles's friendship guides us into more serious pieces on poverty and charged relationships ending with Isherwood's exit from Berlin, as the Nazi's power grows too strong.
Isherwood's writing seems modern for its time and has a sense of amusing reality that reminded me of George Orwell's Down and Out In Paris In London. What struck me as his finest point was the way in which his characters just leap off the page into reality and seem bursting with life. This makes the ending seem even more poignant than it is as we leave many of these characters to face their fate.
This is a wonderful last glance back at the old Berlin that no longer exists.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In troubled times of our own, with the rise of ‘populist politics’ it seems both sad and sagacious to be drawn back into a re-read, a fictionalised account by Christopher... Read morePublished 18 hours ago by Lady Fancifull
Quick delivery. This book was used (I knew that) and was in good condition. Interesting read, I read Goodbye to Berlin in 2 days! I couldn't put it down!Published 1 month ago by rachel2013
really enjoed the book.
i have been on a classics reading kick for a while now and i found the book to be highly enjoyable and i would reccomend
Wonderful prose by Isherwood, which makes for interesting interplay between the characters in pre-war Germany.Published 5 months ago by Mr. S. Parkinson
Re-read after many years - super view of 30's Berlin as the Nazis risePublished 5 months ago by robert kitson