Just completed reading Prater Violet yesterday afternoon.
Loved this very honest direct approach of Isherwood’s fictional insight into the world of film making back in the mid-1930’s. The rise of Hitler, hints of the Anschluss, hints of another world war et al as the backdrop. Beautifully written novella, as if in one go with no chapters, inspired by Isherwood’s real life experience of working as a screenplay writer for the movie Little Friend (1934).

This now is among my favourite novella’s, which include books like Truman Capote’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s , Anthony Burgess’ A Clockwork Orange and Isherwood’s own A Single Man, to name a few.

While reading Prater Violet, I couldn’t help the resemblance between the two main characters’ relationship in this book (i.e. of Isherwood himself and the director Friedrich Bergmann) to that of the two protagonist in Isherwood’s Mr. Norris Changes Trains (i.e. of the narrator and Arthur Norris). The older mature gentleman and younger Englishman, their friendships and their interesting conversations in the apartment of the older gentleman; and the time period happens to be the same as well, although the two books were written in two different decades. Mr Norris Changes Trains was published before the second world war, while Prater Violet was written post the second world war, though set in the mid 30’s.

Another thing I enjoyed in this literary masterpiece, besides having to do with the behind the scenes of the movie business, was towards the end of the book an annoyed Isherwood gets all philosophical and reflects on the meaning of life. He compares birth to entering a restaurant, and life to what the waiter recommends and death to a dreamless sleep after an orgasm. It’s hilarious yet somewhat sad at the same time.  Isherwood no doubt was a brilliant contemporary writer.

Love Isherwood. Love his books.

Am surprised why more of his books haven’t been turned into films.

Bookish Nuwan

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