What a magnificent writer! What a great man! What a marvellous life! Ch.I. has certainly produced one of the capital diaries of the 20th century. His self-portrait is amazingly frank (remember he is a camera), and yet deeply emotional; all the feelings and (at times) their abrupt changes are registered without sentimentality, and he neatly focus them thanks to his shrewdness and uncommon intelligence. As for his world and times, one only needs to mention the outstanding friends and acquaintances --W.H. Auden, A. Huxley, I. Stravinsky, D. Selznik, E.M. Forster, Ch. Laughton, G. Heard, J. Harris...-- to get an idea of its relevance. The top of the top in California, New York City and London, plus many minor celebrities and some common people. Of course, there is the almost day-to-day chronicle of his relationship with Don Bachardy (a master on his own as a portraitist), full of love/devotion, and no few quarrels. Ch.I. found a refuge and a haven in Vedanta since his arrival in California (1939). Above all, it seems clear, he discovered his guru Prabhavananda, who gave him all he was missing after leaving Europe and the war horrors (his own father had been killed during WW1). But Isherwood was not at all a zealot. In these diaries we see the way he struggled against his admitted lack of faith. His guru was the presence that counted. A word must be said about Ch.I.'s extraordinary commitment to literature. His artistic work enhanced his major capabilities in the very process of writing and thus created a number of great books. This masterpiece in particular reads as if it were a luminous water, i.e., an organic lens; it is a clear, brilliant, and genial book. Yes, you will love it, and its author as well --a most honest man, honest even to himself.(Mexico City)
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