I bought this book to give me a "feel" of Germany, and especially Berlin in the period before the Second World War. The reason - I'm to direct the musical "Cabaret" early in 2001. I found that Isherwood's simple style of storytelling with no pretentious nonsense is truely a pleasure to read. The stories are told from the point of view of an observer - even though he is involved in them - very dispasionately. The effect is gripping as the characters are so accurately drawn. Berlin before the war is evoked so well, you would think you had been there. Thoroughly recomended for those interested in the time or those who like good stories told well.