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A Single Man

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A Single Man

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Product Review (submitted on February 18, 2010):

A Single Man
by Christopher Isherwood

Reviewed by Jim McGuire
for Librarything.Com and HighBridge Audio

Christopher Isherwood’s novel A Single Man first published in 1964 is simply, for many, a nostalgic look back and the manners and mores of that time period. It is simply the story of one day in the life of aged homosexual academic, George, who having lost his life mate, Jim, copes with it by a separation from self and by degrees from society.
It is the language and from the language that Isherwood provides for the reader a sense of the unique. In the opening of the book George is presented in terms of I and then it. “It knows its name. It is called George.” The it that is known by George proceeds to inform the reader of his present life but always qualifies it in terms of Jim. George’s life is limited by a loss that allows no completeness in what relations are left. His classes, his drunkenness with Charlotte, his meeting with Kenny are all tempered by the resurging idea of Jim. In the novel we are also constantly reminded of George’s sexuality and how he perceives his contemporaries view his homosexuality.
At the end of the novel we find George where he was in the beginning; in bed. We are presented with in Isherwood’s masterful prose, the supposition of dying (even here the memory of Jim will not let George alone) and the end we are presented with George and the garbage waiting to be carried out.