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From The CriticsAside from his novels (which include Goodbye to Berlin and The World in the Evening), the British-born and later naturalized American writer Isherwood published five autobiographical volumes during his lifetime (1904-1986). This memoir complements his project of lifelong public self-reflection and sociocultural commentary. Written in the early 1970s but unavailable to the public until now, the memoir, which reconstructs Isherwood's life in California, London and New York from 1945-1951, is based on minimal entries in his appointment books. To distinguish his 1940s persona from that of the 1970s, Isherwood wrote his account in the third person, using the first person primarily to question the authenticity of his memories. This stylistic device for separating "objective" and "subjective" voice seems charmingly awkward but does have the benefit of making the reader aware of the several layers of reconstruction at work here. This book will primarily interest those already familiar with Isherwood, to whom it will provide insight into his turning away from Hinduism and his subsequent long-term relationship with the photographer William Caskey. But the book also provides a very outspoken portrait of gay life during a period when most of the interactions depicted could still land their participants in prison. Particularly remarkable are nuanced descriptions of relations that transcend conventional boundaries of acquaintance, friendship, love and sex. When commenting on the benefits of explicit self-assertion, Isherwood once hints at parallels in the experience of queers and Jews as oppressed minorities. Unfortunately, this insight does not seem to prompt him to question his ownnegative stereotyping of Jews in this book.