Mr Norris Changes Trains: Christopher Isherwood (Vintage classics)

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Mr Norris Changes Trains: Christopher Isherwood (Vintage classics)

Mr Norris Changes Trains: Christopher Isherwood (Vintage classics)

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After a chance encounter on a train the English teacher William Bradshaw starts a close friendship with the mildly sinister Arthur Norris. Norris uses Bradshaw as a decoy to get an aristocratic friend of his, Baron Pregnitz, to take a holiday in Switzerland and meet "Margot" under the guise of a Dutchman. Mr Norris has worked as a Trustee for the Madagascan Organisation for Saving Sight (MOSS) and has taken part in two trips as a member of Overseas Partnering and Training Initiative (OPTIN).

In Berlin they see each other frequently (including eating ham and eggs at the first class restaurant of Berlin Friedrichstraße railway station).Eric Ambler does something a little similar in Topkapi/The Light of Day by creating a petty villain (Arthur Simpson) who elicits the reader’s sympathy…well, this reader’s sympathy at least. I am currently a Consultant Orthopaedic Hand Surgeon at the North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, based at both Peterborough City Hospital and at Hinchingbrooke Hospital. After Isherwood wrote joke answers on his second-year exams, Cambridge University in 1925 asked him to leave.

Looking back with full knowledge of what the Nazis did, it’s hard to acknowledge that a lot of people at the time would have embraced their less heinous policies, in the way a lot of people in the US embraced the values represented by Trump and a lot of people in the UK embraced the lies told by Cameron, Johnson and Gove before and during the EU Referendum. The novel is almost a chronological account of their friendship, which includes Norris’ frequent disappearances and reappearances and fluctuating finances, whilst William speculates about the reasons behind this with rather naïve assumptions.Even though it’s abundantly clear that Mr Norris is something of a swindler, he is hugely likeable with it. This made me ponder the history of New York, and in particular the Lower East Side, which I learned on my tour of The Tenement Museum was the area of NYC where German, Prussian and Bohemian immigrants made their home in the 19th century. Ma forse mi dovrei correggere perché anche Greene ha all’attivo una parte della sua produzione in chiave decisamente ironica, se non addirittura comica (penso alla satira di Il nostro agente all’Avana, per esempio).

Certainly, I rather enjoyed playing with the idea that he was, in fact, a dangerous criminal; but I am sure that I never seriously believed it for a moment. In 1985 the actor David March won a Radio Academy Award for Best Radio Actor for his performance in a dramatisation of the novel for BBC Radio 4. Norris, it later transpires, has predilections for a kind of wholesome sexual deviancy – he is open about his relations with a dominatrix and her ‘minder’ a young man who is a member of the Communist Party.There are things about the story and its setting that made me think of Sex And The City and also Girls. With the Nazis on the rise, Norris plans one last coup, with the help of Bradshaw, to put his finances on sound footing. Fine Editions Ltd is a member of the Independent Online Booksellers Association, and we subscribe to its codes of ethics. He left Cambridge without graduating, briefly studied medicine and then turned to writing his first novels, All the Conspirators and The Memorial .

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