Christopher and His Kind
You know, you really are a tourist, to your bones. In the Thirties he appeared to many as the potential interpreter of the human predicament in a socially and historically significant period, and he was still considered as a promising writer long after he had published what was to be his best writing. He played a prominent part among a group of writers who did not actually form a movement but were animated by the same romantic urge to infuse literature with a revolutionary spirit. Isherwood himself was seen as a rebel who had put a stop to his bourgeois education and broken with English middle-class life. However, in the light of his work it is difficult to interpret his revolt as part of a wider and more significant movement.
Christopher and His Kind is an intriguing slice of autobiography. It covers ten years in the writer's life-from , when Isherwood left England to spend a week in Berlin and decided to stay there indefinitely, to the beginning of , when he arrived in New York to start a life in the States. The book revealingly contrasts fact with fiction-the real people Isherwood met in Germany with the portraits of them in his two Berlin novels, who then appeared again, fictionalized to an even greater degree, in I Am a Camera and Cabaret. But one does not need to be familiar with his body of work to appreciate the powerful and compelling story he tells here. Isherwood left Berlin in , after Hitler came to power. The characters in the book include W. Auden, Stephen Sper, and E.