A Letter to Christopher Isherwood

Dear Mr. Isherwood-

Were you still alive, perhaps I'd get the chance to call you Christopher. Perhaps as a sign of deference, I'd still choose to call you Mr. Isherwood. Perhaps I'd just call you sir. I'd like to think that if you were still alive, I'd have made it a goal to become friends with you.

Never before have I connected with a work so strongly than I have to your novel, A Single Man.

I believe it is a testament to the strength of Tom Ford's adaptation of your work that I felt so at home while reading it. It felt so familiar to me. A Single Man is one of my favorite movies, and now, one of my favorite books.

I wanted to crawl up and live inside of it. It was vital. It was alive. I related so strongly to so much of it. I wanted to say, "Yes!" out loud at so many points, though I stayed quiet and kept my eyes on the page. Though I'd seen the movie and knew the ending, I was gripped the entire time.

The project I'm working on deals with many of the same themes, and reading your work, I couldn't help but think, He's already written it, but better.

A few things heartened me while reading it, and after learning more about you once I was finished:

1) Your fixation upon death. I know that sounds strange, but you lived until the ripe age of 81 despite of it. I, myself, have a fixation on death, though today I had an epiphany: if we were to live our lives in fear of what's to come in each subsequent moment, we would be forever paralyzed. What makes death any different?

2) The brevity. I recently finished writing my first novel and have been obsessing over the length. It is far too short, is the thought that plays over and over again in my head. You captured a day-in-the-life-of, in which contained an entire universe, in a slim, brief, yet fully-formed novel. Bravo.

3) Your love. You were with your partner for 30 years, until the day you died. That eternal love is what I long for.

4) Your grasp on what loss feels like.

It could be that this novel was your way of dealing with the "what if?" of losing your partner. Luckily, you didn't have to. Unfortunately, he did.

I'm mournful of the conversations we could have had. Questions I could have asked you (primarily: Do you believe in God?) Answers you could have given. I felt a kindred spirit, and I'm sad that you are gone.

All that is to say, Mr. Isherwood, thank you. Thank you for writing something so beautiful and so real. I feel less alone after reading it. Hopefully, the work I put forth can measure up, though admittedly, that would be quite a feat.

Au revoir, my friend.




Cameron Harrie