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A Single Man

2001
Author:

Christopher Isherwood

A Single Man

The author's favorite of his own novels, now back in print!

When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life. An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness. Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the texture of life itself.

A testimony to Isherwood’s undiminished brilliance as a novelist.

Anthony Burgess

When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many by its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life: the course of A Single Man spans twenty-four hours in an ordinary day. An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness. Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the texture of life itself.

A Single Man

A major figure in both twentieth-century fiction and the gay rights movement, Christopher Isherwood (1904–1986) is also the author of Prater Violet, Down There on a Visit, Lions and Shadows, The Memorial, The World in the Evening, and A Meeting by the River, all available in paperback editions from the University of Minnesota Press.

A Single Man

A testimony to Isherwood’s undiminished brilliance as a novelist.

Anthony Burgess

An absolutely devastating, unnerving, brilliant book.

Stephen Spender

Just as his Prater Violet is the best novel I know about the movies, Isherwood's A Single Man, published in 1964, is one of the first and best novels of the modern gay liberation movement.

Edmund White

This fortunate reissue enables modern readers to access this novel, which for it’s time, gave a shockingly sympathetic portrayal of George, a homosexual protagonist.

Lavender

Isherwood captured the truth, preserved it, and now he have a way to connect mid-20th-century life to 21st-century life.

The Chronicle Review

Composed in a third-person stream-of-consciousness, A Single Man is the pluperfect example of what Gore Vidal calls the “constant clarity of prose style” that is Ishwerood’s hallmark.

LA Weekly

A Single Man

UMP blog: "Flourish—but not forever." On the late Gore Vidal's longtime kinship with Christopher Isherwood

In 1947, Gore Vidal sent a copy of his soon-to-be-published novel, The City and the Pillar, to a number of established writers. Christopher Isherwood was one of them.

Vidal, then 22, and his publishers expected negative press due to the book’s frank depiction of homosexuality. Isherwood, then 43, sent an appreciative letter to Vidal, but objected to the novel’s violent ending, in which the protagonist kills his high school obsession. For Isherwood, the book’s climax reinforced the public’s notion that gay men could not be happy and could not love one another. The American edition of
The City and the Pillar was already published, however, and Vidal did not act on Isherwood’s advice. Years later, Vidal would revise the ending.

Read the full article.