As a personal and retrospective bit of fiction, Prater Violet is well cut—Mr. Isherwood’s technique is a paradigm of modulation and good taste. The objective suggestions, however, are cloudy, possibly escapist.
Also by Isherwood
The position in which [Isherwood] found himself while working on the movie Prater Violet, exemplifies his general position in life: he knows better, and yet he is involved.
[Prater Violet] is a satirical miniature about the absurdity of the early movie industry, with that same absurdity thrown into even sharper relief by the imminence of war and fascism.
I reread the last fifteen pages a few times, and I’m still not sure whether there’s something truly profound here, or it’s as simple a story as it seems. That’s an idiotic dichotomy. But in any case, the prose is impeccable.— Brian Flanagan