I’ve been wanting to read A Single Man for a while, but I spotted Goodbye to Berlin in the library catalogue and figured, if I like this one I’ll probably like A Single Man. Plus it’s about Berlin in the days leading up to the Third Reich, and long-time readers and good friends know I’ve got a slight obsession with the history of the Second World War and Hitler.
If F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote super-amazingly about the Jazz Age, Goodbye to Berlin is like the working/middle-class version. This series of stories — not quite a novel, more connected first-person accounts of various people who lived in Berlin before the Nazis came to power — was a quiet read. It doesn’t have great emotion and heartrending scenes of despair in any way and unlike Fitzgerald (again, I have a real bee in my bonnet about how he’s just not that great), Isherwood’s chosen subjects are much more relatable than Daisy and Tom or Dick and Nicole.
(A wee tip for the Darcy fans: read this after watching A Single Man and imagine Colin Firth’s voice reading it aloud. It’s brilliant.)