4: A single Man

by christopher isherwood


I just watched the trailer of the film directed by Tom Ford (le fashion designer) and starred Colin Firth and Julianne Moore. though I don’t know which female role really needs poignancy. There really aren’t any real female roles in the book.

I avoided the movie in the first place as I thought it would be depressing…..after all, it is about losing one’s lover.

But, the book proved to be its opposite, delightful, insightful, beautiful, and some other word that would end in -ful.

I very much pictured Colin Firth playing the role of George, though everyone else, melted into the background because i just don’t care.

I must now watch the movie for its beautiful portrayal that i imagine that Tom Ford will bring to life on the silver screen. But I have a strange suspicion that the movie steered way off the page from the novel. Because this novella is at a 180 odd pages of large font and large margins. A lot of talking about books and about the children in George’s neighborhood. I feel sad that it had to be that way, steering away from the novel that is, but i hope at least they kept a few of the out bursts that George spewed out throughout the novel.

Beautifully written, and i hope, it is, beautifully filmed.


page 11: Staring and staring into the mirror, it sees many faces within its face – the face of the child, the boy, the young man, the not-so-young man – all present still, preserved like fossils on superimposed layers, and, like fossils, dead. their message to this live dying creature is: Look at us – we have died – what is there to be afraid of?

page 12: It stares and stares. Its lips part. It starts to breathe through its mouth. Until the cortex orders it impatiently to wash, to shave, to brush its hair. Its nakedness has to be covered. It must be dressed up in clothes because it is going outside, into the world of the other people; and these others must be able to identify it. Its behavior must be acceptable to them.

page 16: The living room is dark and low-ceilinged, with bookshelves all along the wall opposite the windows. these books have not made George nobler or better or more truly wise. It is just that he likes listening to their voices, the one or the other, according to his mood. He misuses them quite ruthlessly – despite the respectful way he has to talk about them in public – to put him to sleep, to take his min doff the hands of the clock, to relax the nagging of his pyloric spasm, to gossip him out of his melancholy, to trigger the conditioned reflexes of his colon.

page 19: For breeding you need a steady job, you need a mortgage, you need credit, you need insurance. And don’t you dare die, either, until the family’s future is provided for.

page 100: “Where’s that fucking nurse?” It comes out of her so harshly, so nakedly desperate.

page 112: The supermarket is still open; it won’t close till midnight. It is brilliantly bright. Its brightness offers sanctuary from loneliness and the dark. You could spend hours of our life here, in a state of suspended insecurity, meditating on the multiplicity of things to eat. Oh dear, there is so much! so many brands in shiny boxes, all of them promising you good appetite. Every article on the shelves cries out to you, Take me, take me; and the mere competition of their appeals can make you imagine yourself wanted, even loved. But beware- when you get back to your empty room, you’ll find that the false flattering elf of the advertisement has eluded you; what remains is only cardboard, cellophane and food. And you have lost the heart to be hungry.

page 118: George climbs slowly, taking it easy. (Only the young are not ashamed to arrive panting).

page 162: Giving himself to it utterly, he washes away thought, speech, mood, desire, whole selves, entire lifetimes; again and again he returns, becoming always cleaner, freer, less. He is perfectly happy by himself.

Posted: January 19th, 2012
Categories: 52 weeks, BOOKS, QUOTES
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