When A Single Man was originally published, it shocked many with its frank, sympathetic, and moving portrayal of a gay man in midlife. George, the protagonist, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner, and determines to persist in the routines of his daily life. The course of A Single Man spans 24 hours in an ordinary day.
An Englishman and a professor living in suburban Southern California, he is an outsider in every way, and his internal reflections and interactions with others reveal a man who loves being alive despite everyday injustices and loneliness.
Wry, suddenly manic, constantly funny, surprisingly sad, this novel catches the texture of life itself.
"A testimony to Isherwood's undiminished brilliance as a novelist." (Anthony Burgess)
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Gorgeous Writing but Not for Everyone
This is one of the best contemporary novels I have read/listened to. The writer brings you into the main character at a visceral level so that you start seeing the world the way he does and feeling what he feels. Isherwood is an unsung modern master.
The beginning just grabbed me and I stayed "in" this book until the end. This is a sad novel, make no mistake. It deals with issues such as loneliness, regret, isolation, and the woes of middle age. iIf what you need is to become engrossed in a book that makes you reflect, I recommend it. For light fare, go elsewhere.
Ideally, this book should be listened to in one sitting but life has a way of interfering. The narrator is excellent, by the way.
I saw the excellent movie based on this book with Colin Firth and Julianne Moore and highly recommend it. It is an excellent adaptation with Oscar worthy performances by both (I am still trying to figure out why the movie came and went so silently). It ranks above the best screen adaptations of a book I have seen.