Review of Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood (1939)
Goodbye to Berlin is a series of tales, told similarly to diary entries, of the years the main character, a fictional version of Christopher Isherwood, lived in Weimar Germany. Native Englishman Isherwood tells of his time in Berlin living with an interesting group consisting of Nazis, prostitutes, and bartenders, his interactions with a wealthy Jewish family he befriended only to spite his anti-semitic neighbor, and sharing a house by the Baltic while observing the tumultuous relationship between his two roommates. Berlin is one of the most enjoyable books I’ve read this semester. The tone is carefree, the voice of an observer relishing his life and the people surrounding him. The reader feels wrapped in Isherwood’s life of exploration and amusement. He paints a beautiful picture of the expatriate artist’s life even while impoverished and living in a country in upheaval.