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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > MADE IN LA > 96 CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD

96 CHRISTOPHER ISHERWOOD

CYNTHIA GOULD/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

In 1939, shortly after he arrived in Los Angeles with friend and fellow author W.H. Auden, Christopher Isherwood sent a letter back home to his mother. “The people are most friendly; we all live openly in the sunshine. If you appear dressed in red velvet or walking a baby puma, nobody bats an eyelid,” he wrote wryly. It was in LA that Isherwood came to reinvent himself — as an American, as a writer, and as an out gay man. He’d already been on a quest to find his archetypal American boy while living in Berlin, where his sexual conquests numbered in the hundreds and where he wrote Goodbye to Berlin and Mr Norris Changes Trains, and he eventually found him when he met a young artist called Don Bachardy. Isherwood was 48, Bachardy just over 18, but their relationship lasted right through to the author’s final days. From A Single Man to Cabaret, Isherwood left behind a legacy of work that continues to send ripples of beautiful subversion throughout modern culture.

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