A classic of 20th-century fiction, The Berlin Stories inspired the Broadway musical and Oscar-winning film Cabaret.
First published in the 1930s, The Berlin Stories
contains two astonishing related novels, The Last of Mr. Norris
and Goodbye to Berlin
, which are recognized today as classics of modern fiction. Isherwood magnificently captures 1931 Berlin: charming, with its avenues and cafés; marvelously grotesque, with its nightlife and dreamers; dangerous, with its vice and intrigue; powerful and seedy, with its mobs and millionaires—this is the period when Hitler was beginning his move to power. The Berlin Stories
is inhabited by a wealth of characters: the unforgettable Sally Bowles, whose misadventures in the demimonde were popularized on the American stage and screen by Julie Harris in I Am A Camera
and Liza Minnelli in Cabaret
; Mr. Norris, the improbable old debauchee mysteriously caught between the Nazis and the Communists; plump Fräulein Schroeder, who thinks an operation to reduce the scale of her Büste might relieve her heart palpitations; and the distinguished and doomed Jewish family, the Landauers.