Isherwood: A Life by Peter Parker - review by Carole Angier

Carole Angier

Not Even the Horse Was Normal

Isherwood: A Life


Picador 914pp £25 order from our bookshop

WHAT SHOULD BIOGRAPHY do? Should it widen our sympathies, like all great literature, or may it also confirm our old ideas? I had hoped Peter Parker's new biography would do the first, but instead it has done the second. I regret this, and, if I'm not alone, Parker may regret it even more. But what matters is truth, or (all that is in our power) honesty and fairness. And this biography is scrupulously honest and fair.

True, I'm a specially hard nut to crack. I'm a woman, and Isherwood hated women, a heterosexual and he hated heterosexuals, a Jew and (excepting his friends, in the usual way) he hated Jews. I'm also a European, while he dumped Europe in favour of America, and a rationalist, while

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