After a chance encounter on a train the English teacher William Bradshaw starts a close friendship with the mildly sinister Arthur Norris. Norris is a man of contradictions; lavish but heavily in debt, excessively polite but sexually deviant. First published in 1933 Mr Norris Changes Trains piquantly evokes the atmosphere of Berlin during the rise of the Nazis.
"Isherwood sketches with the lightest of touches the last gasp of the decaying demi-monde and the vigorous world of Communists and Nazis, grappling with each other on the edge of the abyss" James Fenton Sunday Telegraph
Christopher Isherwood was born at High lane, Cheshire, in 1904. He left Cambridge without graduationg, tried briefly to study medicine and in 1928 published All the Conspirators, followed by a second novel, The Memorial in 1932. From 1928 onwards he lived mostly out of England: four years in Berlin, five in various European countries including Portugal, Holland, Belgium and Denmark. In 1939 he went to California, which became his home for the rest of his life. His Berlin experiences produced two novels, Mr Norris Changes Trains (1935) and Goodbye to Berlin (1939). Isherwood worked with the American Friends Service Committee during part of the war. In 1946 he became a US citizen. Following his move to America he wrote five novels - Prater Violet, The World in the Evening, Down There on a Visit, A Single Man and A Meeting by the River; a travel book about South America, The Condor and the Cows; and Ramakrishna and his Disciples, a biography of the great Indian mystic. In 1971 he published Kathleen and Frank, a book based on the correspondence of his parents and his mother's diary, in 1977 Christopher and his Kind, an autobiographical account of the years 1929 to 1939, and in 1980 My Guru and His Disciple, the story of his friendship with the Swami Prabhavananda. He died in 1986.
"Isherwood sketches with the lightest of touches the last gasp of the decaying demi-monde and the vigorous world of Communists and Nazis, grappling with each other on the edge of the abyss" Sunday Telegraph "What the Berlin stories retain, to a unique degree, is the ability to tell us what it really felt like then - to feel involved with the Germans and still to find that they retained their mystery; to be in the mode, yes, of a camera, and yet to be furiously, hopelessly involved" -- James Fenton "The first literary novel that really switched me on was Christopher Isherwood's Mr Norris Changes Trains" -- Chris Pattern Daily Mail "He immortalised Berlin in two short, brilliant novels both published in the Thirties, Mr Norris Changes Trains and Goodbye To Berlin, inventing a new form for future generations - intimate, stylised reportage in loosely connected episodes" Daily Express "Mr Norris Changes Trains brought him recognition as one of the most promising young writers of his generation" The Times