Books: Snapshots of Youth

Flawed and fragile early novels are often like youthful snapshots: a source of faint discomfort to the author, a delight to the doting fan, and a revealing glimpse into the past. Two such novels have now been issued in the U.S., one by Nancy Mitford, the British author (Love in a Cold Climate) who hates Americans, and the other by Christopher Isherwood, the British author (Prater Violet) who became one. The first is worth noting because of the surprisingly naive notions of its adult author, the second because it marks the jumping-off point in...

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