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Candid and revealing, the final volume of Christopher Isherwood's diaries brings together his thoughts on life, love, and death. Beginning in the period of his life when he wrote Kathleen and Frank, his first intensely personal book, Liberation: Diaries 1970–1983 intimately and wittily records Isherwood's immersion in the 1970s art scene in Los Angeles, New York, and London—a world peopled by the likes of Robert Rauschenberg, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and David Hockney, as well as his Broadway writing career, which brought him in touch with John Huston, Merchant and Ivory, John Travolta, John Voight, Elton John, David Bowie, Joan Didion, and Armistead Maupin. With a preface by Edmund White, Liberation is a rich and engaging final memoir by one of the most celebrated writers of his generation.
This third and final volume of Isherwood's compulsively readable diaries concludes with a 136-page "glossary" of names a testament to his connections to the literati and Hollywood glitterati. As the 1970's commence, lover Don Bachardy has just had his screenplay for Cabaret (based on the musical drawn from Isherwood's Goodbye to Berlin) rejected, and the two have begun what will be an unsuccessful stage adaptation of Isherwood's novel, A Meeting by the River. The last diary entry dates to July 4, 1983, exactly two and a half years before Isherwood's death from cancer. In between, he regales readers with accounts of his collaboration with Bachardy on the screenplay for Frankenstein: The True Story, the 1976 publication of Christopher and His Kind (which moved him to the forefront of the gay rights movement), and nonstop dinners, parties, and foreign travels. A master of the bon mot, he enlivens passages with witty critiques of books, acquaintances (Rudolf Nureyev "really is a macabre absurd nineteenth-century vampire"), and lifestyles ("One of the disadvantages about being so frank about one's queerness is that everybody expects you to leer at attractive boys, so you try not to, out of perversity"). A preface by Edmund White and meticulous notes and annotations by editor Bucknell distinguish this fitting finale to a fascinating life.