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Liberation: Diaries Vol 3 Hardcover – 3 May 2012
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"Frank, funny and frequently poignant" (Good Book Guide)
"Sharp and often very funny...marvellous and marveling" (Peter Parker Spectator)
"Meticulously and lovingly edited by Katherine Bucknell…at its best his prose still seems fresh and in the moment" (Spectator)
Hilarious and often deeply moving, the final volume of Christopher Isherwood's extraordinary diaries chronicles the 1970s, with a preface by Edmund WhiteSee all Product description
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As I near the end of this document, I become a bit bored with his obsessions, particularly with death, since he knows he is going to experience a slow decline from prostate cancer (one of his biggest fears). At the same time, he is able to view his life in a larger context—he’s kept such copious records of it—and make some rather stoic and pithy statements. “I’m not in a good state. Death fears—that’s to say, pangs of foreboding—recur often. They seem to be part of a quite normal physical condition; the pangs of a dying animal, thrilling with dread of the unknown” (686). He writes these words on October 23, 1983, a little over two years before he dies. In spite of the struggle of his last years—all chronicled in this tome—he often lives with a joie de vivre that most of us only hope to experience a few times ever.
This final volume of the diaries reflects the aging process of Isherwood, marked by two fierce struggles: one for the acceptance of death, according to the teachings of his religion and his swami; the other, of not complying with the degradation of senility, which Isherwood knew could only be fought through his commitment to literature and writing. In the final pages of the book, when the author's life was already touched by illness and the difficulties and sufferings from old age, Isherwood continues to have ideas and projects for new books, and reproaches himself for yielding to what he called laziness of old age instead of working.
Liberation allows us to follow the process of writing some of the key books of the author, including Christopher And His Kind and My Guru And His Disciple, as well as its activity as an icon for the gay liberation movement, not only because he was the rare out public figures at the time, but also because he was in a stable relationship that was lived openly and without subterfuge.
Furthermore, there is always reasonable doses gossip; Isherwood lived - and slept in the biblical sense of the term - with some of the greatest figures of culture, music and the visual arts, of the ballet (he had a special predilection for young dancers, strong and beautiful) as of the cinema (many aspiring actors frequented his house, as weel as some of the biggest stars in Hollywood), and of course some of the great writers of his century (Auden and Forster were his personal friends for life).
But what is most striking in this diaries, is a ruthless frankness that always begins with himself (and from which only escapes with bonhomie, Don Bachardy, and only in this third volume), a perfect and elegant writing, and finally one of the most intense and poignant love stories.