A Single Man

A Single Man - Christopher Isherwood I paused for a moment over my silly little categories. This is fiction about a gay man, by a gay man, but it doesn't really belong in my "homoerotic fiction" ghetto. It's about grief, and loss, and everyday life, and dealing with other people's blindness - it's about the loneliness of never (or no longer) connecting. All this in 186 pages of really quite marvellous prose. How silly that it took the prospect of seeing a Colin Firth movie (which I haven't yet seen, by the way, and suppose will be an entirely different experience) to bring me to read this.

The ending, which cleverly puts George's death into a long hypothetical paragraph (did it happen at the end of that particular day? we'll never know) annoyed me ever so slightly even as I enjoyed its cleverness and how it linked in with the equally clever and deliberately slightly alienating "itness" of George as (not yet quite conscious) object at the beginning of his chronicled day.

Other than that, I savoured practically every moment, and could not begin to fathom how I would have responded to it had I been a reading adult in the 60s. I'll tell you one thing - the classroom scene was my favourite, because I recognized with delight the truth of Isherwood's observations of classroom dynamics.

Worth a second read.