Isherwood's story centers on the production of the vacuous fictional melodrama Prater Violet, set in 19th-century Vienna, providing ironic counterpoint to tragic events as Hitler annexes the real Vienna of the 1930s. The novel features the vivid portraits of imperious, passionate, and witty Austrian director Friedrich Bergmann and his disciple, a genial young screenwriter: the fictionalized Christopher Isherwood.
©1945 Original material © 1945, renewed 1973 by Christopher Isherwood. Recorded by arrangement with Donadio & Olson, Inc. (P)2009 (p) 2009 HighBridge Company
"Prater Violet, in my view, is one of the best short novels in English written in this century." (Stanley Kauffmann)
"Prater Violet is the most charming novel I have read in a long time...a novel about movie writers, which is yet a novel about the life of every serious artist." (Diana Trilling)
"A deliberate historical parable. Prater Violet resembles the episodes in Goodbye to Berlin and keeps up the same high level of excellence." (Edmund Wilson)
Isherwood never really gets his due. He's too subtle, self-effacing, and writes in what appears to be effortless prose. This short masterpiece is out of the Goodbye to Berlin playbook in that it is pre-WWII and involves a character named "Christopher Isherwood" and a lot of memorable minor players. It's a great book about making movies. The director character is completely unforgettable. It's like a short hike with a great view at the end.
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