Christopher and His Kind is a memoir that follows Christopher Isherwood between the years of 1929-1939. During this time he traveled in numerous countries, mainly Germany and wrote numerous novels. I picked up this novel to fulfill a challenge during a read-a-thon recently and I have also watched the movie adaptation in the past and felt it was finally time for me to pick up the book.
This novel is very interesting for numerous reasons. First, Isherwood is a very accomplished novelist. He has published over forty different works, there may even be more than what I have found. Second, this describes his time in Germany during the rise of Hitler and how it affected his friends and loved ones. Lastly, Isherwood is a homosexual and openly discusses his relationships and sheds light on the local scenes related to this.
Isherwood discusses how he was drawn to Germany because he could be more of himself, find something so un-English, so unlike from where he is from. Even though he is English, he tends to spend most of his time outside of his home country going to other European countries, Africa, Asia, and North America. All of the trips he takes he describes the adventures with his friends, the good and the bad, which I enjoy because it makes this seem so much more sincere and truthful. I also like how the author reflected on his own actions and at times admitted to acting irrationally or improper.
One common thread though most of the book was his relationship with Heinz, whom he met in Germany pre-Hitler. They were in a relationship for a good amount of time and Christopher cared for him dearly and you can see that Heinz felt the same way. Now when Hitler came into power you witness Christopher struggle to keep Heinz away and out of the country so he would be away from the violence and not be forced to fight. I found myself looking forward to their next trip and to what country they could get Heinz a visa for. It was like a tale of two lovers on the run. Now I will admit I am leaving a lot out because if I write anymore of the things I like of dislike it would end up giving away bits and pieces of Christopher’s story.
I will say I enjoyed the book greatly, I would say it is a very solid LGBTQ+ book. I ended up giving the book a rating of 3 out of 5 stars. The reason this is not a 5 star book is because at times the book seemed to drag a lot and tended to be erratic at time. Which I understand s a writing tool to show and reflect his own erratic and worried thought processes he was going through, but it made it difficult to read at times for me personally. If this is not something you find difficult I would say it is worth looking into.