In 1939 Christopher Isherwood and W. H. Auden emigrated together to the United States. In spare, luminous prose these diaries describe Isherwood's search for a new life in California; his work as a screenwriter in Hollywood, his pacifism during World War II and his friendships with such gifted artists and intellectuals as Garbo, Chaplin, Thomas Mann, Charles Laughton, Gielgud, Olivier, Richard Burton and Aldous Huxley.
Throughout this period, Isherwood continued to write novels and sustain his literary friendships - with E. M. Forster, Somerset Maugham, Tennessee Williams and others. He turned to his diaries several times a week to record jokes and gossip, observations about his adopted country, philosophy and mystical insights. His devotion to his diary was a way of accounting for himself; he used it as both a discipline and a release.
A major literary event...an essential part of his oeuvre
There is not a page that does not contain a good joke, original insight, deadly accurate description or delicious nugget of gossip... A major literary work, the diaries round off the writer both as man and artist. They are intimate and intensely personal
There is plenty to enjoy in this first volume...Isherwood's is an exemplary twentieth-century life: assured and neurotic, fearless and fretful, generous and small-minded, forgiving and remorsefully judgemental
A pleasure to read... No word is wasted, and the casual-looking sentences create the impression that we are overhearing what is being said
Enthralling...Isherwood...struggles with his demons in spare, luminous and merciless prose
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Katherine Bucknell edited The Animals, a collection of Christopher Isherwood and Don Bachardy's love letters. She charts the journey to bringing them to life in a podcast starring Simon Callow and Alan Cumming