Description - Lost Years by Christopher Isherwood
Christopher Isherwood settled in California in 1939 and spent the war years working in Hollywood studios and teaching English to European refugees. When the war ended he careered into a life of frantic socialising, increasing dissipation, anxiety and despair. For nearly half a decade he all but ceased to write fiction and he abandoned his lifelong habit of keeping a diary.This is Isherwood's account, reconstructed nearly thirty years later, of his day-to-day experiences in London, New York and Santa Monica. Begun in 1971, in a post-sixties atmosphere of liberation, Lost Years includes explicit details of his romantic and sexual relationships during the 1940s and unveils a hidden and sometimes shocking way of life, shared with friends, acquaintances and colleagues - many of whom were themselves well-known writers, artists, actors and filmmakers.Isherwood never prepared Lost Years for publication because he rapidly became caught up in writing the bestselling book which established him as a hero of gay liberation, Christopher and His Kind.
Lost Years shows Isherwood both as a private being trying to make sense of the events of his life and as social chronicler, portraying the energy and, occasionally, abandon of the post-war years.
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(240mm x 165mm x 45mm)
Chatto & Windus
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
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UK Kirkus Review »
The diaries of the English novelist Christopher Isherwood (Goodbye to Berlin, Mr Norris Changes Trains and the stories that made the musical Cabaret) came out in 1996 and covered the years 1939-1960. In his later years, he wrote a memoir of what he called 'the lost years' between 1945 and 1951, from when the diaries have been lost. The book has been trashed in the popular press, mainly because of its extremely graphic account of a physical life largely devoted to profligate gay sex. There is a great deal of it, but the theme of homosexual sex during a period when it was illegal is at the heart of most of Isherwood's fiction, and this book fills in a vivid background to his novels which could not have been painted at the time they were published. The life of a highly potent gay man in the 1940s and 1950s (when Isherwood claims to have had over 400 sexual contacts) has perhaps never been so graphically and comprehensively recorded. All that aside, the book is often extremely funny, leaving sharp and entertaining portraits of the denizens of Hollywood in that period: Garbo, Gregory Peck, Stravinsky (with whom Isherwood regularly got drunk), Tennessee Williams, Gore Vidal, Roddy McDowall, Aldous Huxley and many others. This book deserves to be taken seriously, and certainly no Isherwood fan can afford to be without it. (Kirkus UK)
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