A Single Man

Narrated by: Simon Prebble
Length: 4 hrs and 39 mins
Categories: Literature & Fiction
4 out of 5 stars (641 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1992 Don Bachardy (P)2009 HighBridge Company

Critic Reviews

"A testimony to Isherwood's undiminished brilliance as a novelist." (Anthony Burgess)

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What listeners say about A Single Man

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Gorgeous Writing but Not for Everyone

A Contempletive and Poetic novel. The novel is mostly the internal voice of an elderly man whose lover has recently passed away. It is the story of an outsider--a gay British man living in California, teaching college classes. He no longer "fits in" to his neighborhood which has changed around him. He feels alienated where he is, but belongs nowhere else. He is resentful of or disgusted by the heterosexuals breeding all around him and has several erotic fantasies, which might make some readers uncomfortable. This is not an action novel--very little happens, but it has beautiful prose and a distinctive point of view that I hadn't seen before.

29 people found this helpful

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Masterfully written

Where does A Single Man rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

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.

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Single Man?

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.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Ideally, this book should be listened to in one sitting but life has a way of interfering. The narrator is excellent, by the way.

Any additional comments?

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.

30 people found this helpful

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loved the writing, loved the narrator

This novella is very well written. It takes place in a short time period and the writing is tight. The narrator is so skilled that he almost disappears as you enter the story. The emotions feel real and honest throughout. I haven't seen the movie yet, but I'm looking forward to it. Can't imagine it being as good as the novella.

24 people found this helpful

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George's Day

This book was very interesting and much more than I expected. The book details a 24 hour period in George's life; while the description made me think it would focus on his experience as a gay man, that was not the sole focus. Yes, the issue is prevalent, but it was presented in the way of this is who he is. George's sexual orientation was part of many of his interactions, but the listener learns of many aspects of his life.

This was written in 1964, and I found it interesting that the attitudes described about George due to his sexual orientation have not changed much today. It was also perceptive of the author when he observed that colleges campuses would soon be overtaken by the parking lots; I recall many a day circling my college campus looking for a place to park in the 90s and 2000s!

The writing was excellent and I enjoyed the narrator. This is one of the books that I think I would have enjoyed equally in print and audio format. I was not prepared for the ending, but I like how it tied in with the opening scene of the story.

10 people found this helpful

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beautifully done

I chose this selection after seeing the movie, which I enjoyed very much, and was not disappointed. I enjoyed the audible book as much as I did the movie, and was even moved to get the printed book so I could browse around and re-read parts of it. I will listen to the whole audible book again sometime -- it was such a pleasure. I especially liked the narrator, Simon Prebble -- enough to search for other books narrated by him.

9 people found this helpful

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Poetry in motion

On a sentence by sentence level, Christopher Isherwood is as good as they get, reminiscent of James Salter, another amazingly good architect of sentences. This book is brimming with gorgeous metaphors and is sensitively rendered. I only wish Isherwood was still alive and producing more of these outstanding prose. A tour de force.

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Absolutely splendid!!

This is a truly great book with an absolutely splendid narration. Isherwood is a remarkable author and it’s a pity that there are so few of his titles available on audio. Simon Prepple’s narration is flawless. A truly great listening experience!

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Every Gay Man Should Read by 40 (or at 53)

What made the experience of listening to A Single Man the most enjoyable?

Simon Pebble wonderfully narrates the incredible language mastery of Christopher Isherwood. The combination of the two becomes magical.

Any additional comments?

I found this book listed in someone's list of what every gay man should read by 40. Even though I missed doing that, I would say it has the same, or even more, impact for a gay man in his early 50's. I've been reflecting back to this book even days later!

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Great story, too short

The story was enthralling, performance was great, but it left charlies tale with loose ends & was way too short for the price of the book.

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Beautifully written.

I gobbled this recording right up. Isherwood remains us of the art of language and storytelling.

1 person found this helpful