Here is the definitive biography of one of the most exciting, influential, and elusive British writers of the twentieth century. Christopher Isherwood’s novels and short stories, including those that inspired the musical Cabaret, have always been assumed to be largely autobiographical. Based in part on Isherwood’s private papers, this fascinating book presents the real story of his life, a life that saw a relatively conventional boy become an acclaimed writer, mystic, and “grand old man” of the gay liberation movement. In the end, Isherwood portrays someone who misled as much as he revealed.
In addition to using Isherwood’s correspondence, unpublished diaries, and other previously unavailable sources in painting this clear and definitive portrait, Parker has also unearthed the author’s telling early works, including parodies, school memoirs, and even part of a crucial lost novel. Painstakingly researched and brilliantly written, Isherwood captures the fugitive reality of a man who has become a favorite artist and important symbol of an entire era in our life of letters. Published in the centenary of his birth, it will be read as long as Isherwood himself is.
UK Print – Picador, 2004
US Print – Random House, 2004