Liberation: Diaries Vol 3: Vol. 3
'A slip of a wild boy: with quicksilver eyes' is how "Virginia Woolf" characterised the young Christopher Isherwood. This final volume of his diaries, capstone of a million-word masterwork, records the golden decades of the life-long adventurer, the boy who never wanted to grow up. He greets advancing age with his familiar, unquenchable appetite for the new, and writes with disarming candour about his fear of death. The mainstays of his mature contentment, his Hindu guru, Swami Prabhavnananda, and his long-term companion, Don Bachardy, drawS from him an unexpected high tide of love and joy. Bachardy's burgeoning career pulled Isherwood into the centre of the 1970s art scene in Los Angeles, New York and London, where we meet Rauschenberg, Ruscha, and Warhol (who served meat too smelly to eat) as well as Hockney (adored) and Kitaj. For Hollywood Don and Chris worked together on scripts for stage and screen, including the prize-winning Frankenstein and the Broadway fiasco, "A Meeting by the River".John Huston, Merchant and Ivory, David Bowie, John Travolta, Elton John, Joan Didion, Armistead Maupin all take a turn through Isherwood's human comedy, sketched with ruthlessness and benevolence against the background of the Vietnam War, the Energy Crisis, the Nixon, Carter and Reagan White Houses. In "Kathleen and Frank", his first book of this period, Isherwood unearthed the family demons from which he had been on the run all his life. As his contemporaries begin to die, he responded by revealing fresh truths about their shared experiences, particularly in "Christopher and His Kind", fulfilling his role as the Grand Old Man of Gay Liberation - the one political movement to which he ever committed himself. Poignant and entertaining in equal measure, "Liberation" is an extraordinary and intimate journey into the mind of one of the most significant commentators of our time.
Hilarious and often deeply moving, the final volume of Christopher Isherwood's extraordinary diaries chronicles the 1970s, with a preface by Edmund White
Christopher Isherwood (1904-1986) was one of the most celebrated writers of his generation. He left Cambridge without graduating, briefly studied medicine and then turned to writing his first novels, All the Conspirators and The Memorial. Between 1929 and 1939 he lived mainly abroad, spending four years in Berlin and writing the novels Mr Norris Changes Trains and Goodbye to Berlin on which the musical Cabaret was based. He moved to America in 1939, becoming a US citizen in 1946, and wrote another five novels, including Down There on a Visit and A Single Man, a travel book about South America and a biography of the Indian mystic Ramakrishna. In the late 1960s and '70s he turned to autobiographical works: Kathleen and Frank, Christopher and His Kind, My Guru and His Disciple and October, one month of his diary with drawings by Don Bachardy.