MOTIVATION for READING: Purchased for The Bookies’ selection for April (my in-real-life book club — discussion 4/15.)
It was my turn to suggest. I had too many to offer* and we all voted by ranking our choices; this book won. I love book-to-movie adaptions and cannot wait to see this flick starring Colin Firth and Julianne Moore – it is supposed to be artistically visually astonishing. Maybe that’s a bit strong but it is captures my excitement to see what fashion-designer-turned-film-director Tom Ford has done with the story. However, I screwed up! The movie has yet to be released to DVD so The Bookies will not be coming to my house for movie-viewing; we’ll be at the pub again per usual.
Before I share my thoughts, do know that I was heavily influenced to the positive by the reviews I found (thank you Fyrefly!) – I encourage you to check these out:
Asylym’s review – “…Isherwood’s “masterpiece”, a claim for once not overstated.”
Savidge Reads – “For such a small book it is brimming with ideas, emotions, and people and actually took me a while to read at there is so much to take in. It’s utterly remarkable.”
A Guy’s Moleskine Notebook – “…very stream-of-conscious with surgical precision and unsentimentality.“
Book Maven’s Blog – “…achingly poetic…”
Paperback Reader – “A tender and stark evocation of grief, A Single Man is also exceptionally perceptive.”
WHAT’s it ABOUT: A day in the life of an early 60’s English Literature professor who lives in California. He believes he is only playing a part; the role of his former self — a lie, an empty life, a shell of man not quite sure how to really live anymore. The love of his life, Jim, has died and he is grieving. His whole world is gone and no one really knows; he can’t quite share the totality of it. But he goes through the motions, grasping at connections and analyzing everything. The raw range of emotions he feels is palpable; his loneliness is aching and painful. I was completely engrossed.
George laughs in an appropriately sardonic manner, since this is what Grant expects of him. But this gallows humor sickens his heart. In all those old crises of the twenties, the thirties, the war – each one of them has left its traces upon George, like an illness – what was terrible was the fear of annihilation. Now we have with us a far more terrible fear, the fear of survival.
I had intended to share more; contemplated doing research on Huxley and Tennyson and Tithonus! About the cold war and fear of ‘rockets’ and/or fear of survival. Of course, the hating – hating ‘them’ because they are not ‘us’. The longer I’m away from this reading experience, the more fascinated I am with what Isherwood has created. As a character study as well as encapsulating a piece of time; this book is brilliantly done.
Based on feedback thus far among The Bookies, we will be having a polarized** and spirited discussion. Golly, I so hope!
For the record, I want to thank the UofMN Press for the gorgeous and slickery feel of this tradeback. I want to caress this book every time I pick it up.
* I bought all of these because I want to read them/view them: An Education/Lynn Barber, Blindness/Saramago, Ethan Frome/Wharton, Up In the Air/Walter Kirn, The Maltese Falcon/Hammett, A River Runs Through It/Maclean…
** I gave it four stars in goodreads; others are not liking it quite as much. I just might have to change my rating to five stars but can’t decide if I’m only being contrarian now.