A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood

"Because a minority is only thought of as a minority when it constitutes some kind of threat to the majority, real or imaginary."

George is an outsider in just about every way possible. He is an English transplant living in California during the early 1960's. He is a 50 something-year-old intellectual surrounded by the youthful students of the college he teaches at. Perhaps most egregious, George is gay. His otherness used to not bother him much, especially because his partner Jim loved him unconditionally for who he was. But then Jim was killed in an accident.

Now, there are two sides to George. One side is the outer George, the one who dresses impeccably each day, teaches his students, and makes polite small talk with the neighbors. The other is the internal George, the one who longs for an escape from the monotony of day to day life and contemplates the loaded pistol that's never too far from reach. It is this internal/external dichotomy that fuels the pages of Isherwood's novel.

A Single Man is a tremendous novel. It is the kind of work that should be required reading, but it usually gets passed over for more standard works. Within less than 200 pages, Isherwood writes about love, loss, acceptance, and grief in a way that is as profound as it is engrossing. In George, Isherwood captures the essence of any person labeled 'other' from the crowd, and creates a timeless message of accepting the uniqueness of each individual and living each day as if it is your last. I was completely blown away by this novel.

For more information, visit the author's website, Amazon, and Goodreads.

(2017, 32)

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