Prater Violet PDF µ Paperback

Prater Violet I found PRATER VIOLET an engaging novella that effectively satirizes the making of movies in the 1930s The first person narrator Christopher Isherwood is a close adjunct to the author and not above having a bit of fun with the making of a cloying studio movie set in Olde Vienna whose director is worried sick about the onslaught of fascism in the real Vienna where his close relatives are marooned The movie studio is set in London but much of the plot could apply to the Hollywood studios of the Thirties as well A uick read; pay attention to the denouement Not a major Isherwood novel but so much fun it doesn't matter Originally published in 1945 Thanks for the copy Chris A wafer thin parable Isherwood in London writes on assignment a trite film script while Europe prepares for W2 Get the irony? His writing is clean and crispy clear as usual but only the last couple of pages crack anything personal or profound The real irony about Isherwood whose reputation continues to rise today is that until a hit 60s musical Cabaret was produced from a play by someone else based on his Berlin Stories no one in America or anywhere else was even aware of him He says he never saw the musical But it suddenly made him rich and famous Now that's a far better story than Prater Violet I absolutely fell in love with this charming little book about cinema performance and the 1930s I read it all in one go A masterpiece Does in 128 pages what contemporary or recently deceased masters can't do in a thousand pages Every word every sentence perfectThe narrator Christopher Isherwood who is not the author but is the author is hired to work on a film that is directed by an Austrian Jew in London during the fall of his country to Hitler This slim book shows you everything that's wrong and that's right in the times and tells you all you'll ever need to know about making a movie The last seven pages are one of the greatest poems albeit in prose ever writtenI cannot recommend this book highly enough It's past amazing Read it Isherwood himself in the novel as novice scriptwriter and his new acuaintance the German film director Bergmann during their first lunch with the studio head ChatsworthThe cigar somehow completed Chatsworth As he puffed it he seemed to grow larger than life size His pale eyes shone with a prophetic light‘For years I’ve had one great ambition You’ll laught at me Everybody does They say I’m crazy But I don’t care’He paused Then announced solemnly ‘Tosca With Garbo’Bergmann turned and gave me a rapid enigmatic glance Then he exhaled with such force that Chatsworth’s cigar smoke was blown back around his head Chatsworth looked pleased Evidently this was the right kind of reaction‘Without music of course I’d do it absolutely straight’ He paused again apparently waiting for our protest There was noneVery funny and very sad In the mid30s Bergmann has fled to Vienna with his family leaving all his money and possessions in Nazi Germany He’s come to England in 1938 to prostitute his art in directing a corny musical Prater Violet leaving his wife and daughter in Vienna he needs the money Mid film the Germans take over Austria Bergmann already as amazed and frustrated as Zweig was that these English can’t see the evil and duplicity of Hitler is frantic about his familyAll Bergmann’s pent up anxiety exploded ‘The picture I s upon the picture This heartless filth This wretched lying charade To make such a picture at such a moment is definitely heartless It is a crime It definitely aids Dollfuss and Starhemberg and Fey and all their gangsters It covers up the dirty syphilitic sore with rose leaves with the petals of this hypocritical reactionary violet It lies and declares that the pretty Danube is blue when the water is red with bloodI am punished for assisting at this lie We shall all be punished’I had just spent two days at the Deutsches Historiches Museum in Berlin when I found this in an charity shop Two days and much recent reading submerged in images of the two world wars and the stories of the people who started and suffered from them Touring the gleaming new glass dome of the Reichstag that replaces the one damaged in the probably Nazi set fire of 1933 and again later in the Allied bombing So this felt like a continuation of living as much in the last century as in this one Our horrific news from Sudan and Yemen and Afghanistan mirrored by news from Belgium and Austria and Poland andpeople continuing to make movies like take your pickIsherwood wrote or at least published this right after the war and his Bergmann predicts all the disaster that looms in front of Europe That part of the story is icy and fierce But it is just as much a droll send up of the movie business filled at the top with crass but cagy executives assisted by Cambridge boys with amused well paid nonchalance and staffed by skilled crew members uickly but individually sketched The writing is excellent until the last two or three pages when Isherwood inexplicably devolves into a personal remembrance that melts away the power of his story So definitely read it to page 98 and then stop This is one of my favorite books My uncle gave me a copy when I was in high school and I have re read it every couple years ever sinceIsherwood is better known for Berlin Stories a semi autobiographical work on pre Nazi Germany which became the basis for CabaretPrater Violet is a semi autobiographical account of the young Isherwood was hired to write the screenplay for a relentlessly fluffy Ruritanian musical comedy Prater Violet to be shot in London in 1934The director Friedrich Bergmann is a Jewish intellectual who has left his family back in Austria Upon first meeting Isherwood Bergmann remarks I am sure we shall be very happy together You know already I feel absolutely no shame before you We are like two married men who meet in a whorehousePrater Violet the novel is largely a character study of Bergmann who sees both the tragedy and absurdity of his situation pouring his energy into a ridiculous comedy while danger looms over his family and the world It is also uite genuinely a hilarious backstage comedy about filmmaking so the movie within the book and the book itself are perfect reflections of each other The character sketches are dead on and the prose is marvelousIf that was all the book was I would have liked it a lot But it's than that I'll put what made me fall in love with it and makes it endlessly re readable behind a cut It's not a plot twist in any conventional sense but it did surprise me I'd love to keep it a surprise to allow you to discover it for yourselfSince I know what you're all thinking nobody in the book dies in the Holocaust or dies at all It's surprising for stylistic and thematic reasonsview spoilerAll through the book we learn a great deal about Bergmann but less of Isherwood He turns his observant eye on others but not himself An early line in Berlin Stories is I am a camera with its shutter open uite passive recording not thinkingIn the very last pages of the book Isherwood lets us catch a glimpse of his life his self his soul and what his relationship with Bergmann really means to him After an entire book skating over bright surfaces striped with dark shadows it's like a sudden plunge into deep waters startling and revelatory and beautifulThe last page returns to the original tone sparkling and funny and understated But now we know what was beneath what is always beneath all our surface interactions and appearances and silly projects and casual chat The actual text is a letter from a friend about how much audiences are enjoying Prater Violet and snubbing a politically superior and very serious indeed Soviet movie about the proletariatThe very last line informs us that Bergmann moved to America with his family The implication is that the success of Prater Violet got him a Hollywood job and so enabled him and his family to escape the Holocaust The silly comedy that Bergmann reluctantly poured his creative energies into didn't turn out to be a great work of art But it did save livesThose last few pages together with the rest of the book suggests to me that the frustratingly absurd shallow everyday work and interactions are also necessary and important Though Bergmann and Isherwood discuss serious things their relationship is built not only on that but on sharing the absurdities of Hollywood and writing their fluffy movie Similarly the sparkling body of the book is what makes the depth of the climax work hide spoiler Reading Isherwood I find myself nodding and smiling agreeing with all he says and does as if he's my older brother my idol who continues to impress me and I continue to follow because I believe in them their personality and their beliefs; or partly because I see parts of myself in Isherwood even flawed parts of myself which I can relate to that I can laugh at myself as Isherwood does with his beautiful English sarcasm Sarcasm my best friend my best weapon and defence Written two night ago at about 2am scrawly as anything and diagonally across a piece of paper on my bedside table in blotchy biro When people tend to ask me my favourite writers I tend to leave Isherwood off Sometimes I think to myself well Matt this book probably only deserves 4 stars but I can't help but give him 5 because they all just speak to me through me from me seemingly I think we all have personal things like that I tell most people my favourite Led Zeppelin song is 'Babe I'm Gonna Leave You' which is true it's my favourite public Led Zeppelin What's my actual favourite that I listen to the most on my own and don't want to listen with anyone else? 'Going to California' There we go if you've bothered to read this you've learnt something about me My favourite colour you ask me in town? Or outside the cinema or in the supermarket I shrug 'red' I say I'm lying My favourite colour is that burnt leaf colours that comes in autumn those browns and oranges all scorched and rusted Anyway typical tangents I find writing so personal I can't help but go off topic 'Prater Violet' has Isherwood as the narrator as he is employed to save a movie which the novel is named after There's some great stuff about Isherwood struggling as a writer which as a budding writer I adore to read There's wit and great characters like in all of Isherwood's novels and at the end I was surprised with some philosophy from Isherwood moving and dark but powerful and needed Here's some uotesBergmann Isherwood's German's colleague on the movieDo you know what the film is?' Bergmann cupped his hands lovingly as if around an ezuisite flower 'The film is an infernal machine Once it is ignited and set in motion it revolves with an enormous dynamism It cannot pause It cannot apologise It cannot retract anything It cannot explain itself It simply ripens to its inevitable explosionBergmann on the English and the rise of Hitler evident in most of Isherwood's work as he lived in Berlin for 34 yearsYou see this umbrella of his I find extremely symbolic It is the British respectability which thinks I have my traditions and they will protect me Nothing unpleasant nothing ungentlemanly can possibly happen within my private park This respectable umbrella is the Englishman's magic wand with which he will try to wave Hitler out of existence When Hitler declines rudely to disappear the Englishman will open his umbrella and say After all what do I care for a little rain? But the rain will be a rain of bombs and blood The umbrella is not bomb proofIsherwood on the film later realising how much he sounds like BergmannThe whole beauty of the film I announced to my mother and Richard next morning at breakfast 'is that it has a certain fixed speed The way you see it is mechanically conditioned I mean take a painting you can just glance at it or you can stare at the left hand top corner for half an hour Same thing with a book The author can't stop you from skimming it or starting at the last chapter and reading backwards The point is you can choose your approach When you go to the cinema it's different There's the film and you have to look at it as the director wants you to look at it He makes his points one after another and he allows you a certain number of seconds or minutes to grasp each one If you miss anything he won't repeat himself and he won't stop to explainAnd a portion of Isherwood's uestioning and thoughts at the end to finish though it goes on for longer than this uote below'What makes you go on living? Why don't you kill yourself? Why is all this bearable? What makes you bear it?Could I answer that uestion about myself? No Yes Perhaps I supposed vaguely that it was a kind of balance a complex of tensions You did whatever was next on the list A meal to be eaten Chapter eleven needs to be written The telephone rings You go off somewhere in a taxi There is one's job There are amusements There are people There are books There are things to be bought in shops There is always something new There has to be Otherwise the balance would be upset the tension would break' First Line “Mr Isherwood?”Yes the protagonist of this book is Mr Isherwood himself uite unusual but also uite brilliant The story takes place in London just before WWII where Isherwood is working on a screenplay with Friedrich Bergmann We follow the writing process and part of the movie production of Prater Violet – probably inspired of Isherwood’s ie the real Isherwood own experience as a screenwriter in the 1930sThe story is also about the friendship between Isherwood and Bergmann Their relationship was very amusing to follow What a character we have in Bergmann Just take a look at what Bergmann utters after meeting Isherwood for the first time I am sure we shall be very happy together You know already I feel absolutely no shame before you We are like two married men who meet in a whorehouse I LOVE Isherwood’s writing To me he’s one of the best And I always love his description of the 1930s and 40s He knows how to create a interesting setting about to be destroyed by the Nazis lurking in the background Take another look at what he says about the Nazis again speaking through Bergmann That is how they wish you to imagine them as unconuerable monsters But they are human very human in their weakness We must not fear them We must understand them It is absolutely necessary to understand them or we are all lost Isherwood is a true master of setting tone characters and writing His characters are always so real And amusing One of the things that really cracked me up was his description of himself as a fictional character An arrogant whiny lazy little prat But we love him for his honesty And aren’t we all whiny lazy and arrogant from time to time? And don’t we all know this feeling I was feeling temperamental and sulky that day chiefly because I had a bad cold My conscience had driven me to Bergmann’s flat and I felt that my sacrifice wasn’t being properly appreciated I had expected to be fussed over and sent home again That one made me laugh So all in all Prater Violet was an entertaining and unusual little story But I’m still glad it was only 122 pages I think I would have tired of the story had it been longerFor reviews visit my blog The Bookworm's Closet a blog about fashion and literature This slim satirical novel written six years on from Goodbye to Berlin is built around Isherwood's own experiences of scrip writing For the generation of writers who grew up with silent cinema the arrival of sound was an opportunity not to be missed A chance to take a break from novel writing and enter the glamorous world of film All of a sudden actors needed lines and obviously somebody had to write them Austrian director Berthold Viertel learnt of Isherwood after his name was put forward by a friend he had met during his time in 1920s Germany Viertel read and liked Isherwood's novel The Memorial so bought him in as a replacement to work on a script based on fellow Austrian Ernst Lothar's novel Little FriendPrater Violet written when Isherwood was living in America since the outbreak of WW2 is set in 1934 and sees the author himself as the narrator who is living with his mother and brother in England when he is approached by director Friedrich Bergmann who is closely based on Viertel to work on a script Austrian Bergmann is lured from Vienna by British film company Imperial Bulldog Pictures to direct the film Prater Violet which focuses on a handsome student who happens to be a prince who meets and falls in love with Toni a girl who sells violets Isherwood initially thinks the project stinks but in the end changes his mind Isherwood and Bergmann discover their close affinity and through their growing rapport Isherwood is treated to Bergmann's versatility vitality and deep emotional content of things as they are Hanging over the story is a foreboding of trouble brewing back in Bergmann's homeland He starts to become increasingly rattled is worried for his family and with mounting fear is convinced Hitler is on the verge of reeking terror which leads to bitter uarrels on set and a despair that almost derails the picture It's one of Isherwood's most overlooked novels and I have to say it entertained me a lot than I thought it would Prater Violet contains much of Isherwood’s understated elegance and observational prowess his insight into human behaviour and his power to charm As characters go Bergmann's presence is simply a triumph He steals all the scenes he's in with his long verbal attacks and thoughts about love politics and industry gossip It's uite easy to overlook Isherwood who is still an important player both in connecting dots of the novel and in the actual production of the film which in the end leads to Hollywood's interest in Bergmann Prater Violet is the most charming novel I have read in a long time —Diana TrillingOriginally published in 1945 Christopher Isherwood's Prater Violet is a stingingly satirical novel about the film industry It centers around the production of the vacuous fictional melodrama Prater Violet set in nineteenth century Vienna providing an ironic counterpoint to tragic events as Hitler annexes the real Vienna of the 1930s The novel features vivid portraits of the imperious passionate and witty Austrian director Friedrich Bergmann and his disciple a genial young screenwriter—the fictionalized Christopher Isherwood

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