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Giovanni's Room Hardcover – 4 February 2016

4.7 out of 5 stars 2,345 ratings

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Product description


Audacious ... remarkable ... elegant and courageous -- Caryl Phillips

A powerful book because of the stark simplicity of its drama and the intensity of its vision -- Colm Tóibín

Exquisite ... a feat of fire-breathing, imaginative daring ― Guardian

About the Author

Born in 1924 in New York City, James Baldwin published the 1953 novel Go Tell It on the Mountain, going on to garner acclaim for his insights on race, spirituality and humanity.
Other novels included Giovanni's Room, Another Country and Just Above My Head as well as essay works like Notes of a Native Son and The Fire Next Time. Having lived in France, he died on December 1, 1987 in Saint-Paul de Vence.

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Product details

  • Publisher : Everyman; UK ed. edition (4 February 2016)
  • Language : English
  • Hardcover : 200 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1841593729
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1841593722
  • Item Weight : 323 g
  • Dimensions : 13.3 x 1.7 x 21 cm
  • Country of Origin : United Kingdom
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.7 out of 5 stars 2,345 ratings

Customer reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5
2,345 global ratings
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Top reviews from India

Reviewed in India on 22 July 2019
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4.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, tender, honest and enchanting!
By Felicity on 22 July 2019
'Then I wanted to beg him to forgive me. But this would have been too great a confession; any yielding at that moment would have locked me forever in that room with him. And in a way this was exactly what I wanted.'

Giovanni's Room is a brilliant book. It has all the elements in it to be called a perfect piece of literary fiction - sublime language, complex and realistic characters,a heavy dose of tender emotions and the climactic tragedy.

This lyrical work is a tumultuous study of humans caught in the miasma of shame, lust, guilt and desire. The protagonist is trapped in what is society's conception of correctness. The city of Paris, the bar houses, the streets and 'Giovanni's room' mimic this congestion. It's breathtaking how the writer has juxtaposed the abstract and the physical.

Everything about this book is hauntingly mesmerising and tenderly moving. It is a remarkable gay novel, but it's not just a gay novel. It's about everyone and for everyone.
Please read this, I insist you.

What I didn't like was the not so subtle misogyny in the book which is definitely unsettling not so much because it is anti women which, well, it is, but more because it creates a sinister relationship between homosexuality and misogyny. It can be misleading and harmful in ways more than one. I can't say if the author intended that but the last thing one expects to find in gay literature is the usual streaks of homophobia laced with comfortable ignorance and insensitivity.
But I can't change my stand on how compelling this book is. It's easily one of the best books I have read, a 5 🌟 book if not for the not-so-slightly bugging thing about women and gays, so I give it 4 🌟

Here, have a look at this bewichingly beautiful paragraph -

"I remember that life in that room seemed to be occurring beneath the sea, time flowed past indifferently above us, hours and days had no meaning. In the beginning our life held a joy and amazement which was newborn every day. Beneath the joy, of course, was anguish and beneath the amazement was fear; but they did not work themselves to the beginning until our high beginning was aloes on our tongues. By then anguish and fear had become the surface on which we slipped and slid, losing balance, dignity, and pride."

Have I convinced you enough?
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2 people found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 30 March 2021
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4.0 out of 5 stars Highly Recommend
By Pooja Nandi on 30 March 2021
Sexual orientation—a subject much talked about, but less accepted. Everyone knows, what is it, how does it come to light, and also when, but nobody talks about why. Why is important to talk about it, why is it important to treat it as a common as periods, and most of all what to do about it.
This novel #GiovannisRoom talks about the life of a guy named David, who discovers his sexual orientation through an unforeseen instance in his childhood. He convinces himself of it being a mistake and lives his life for a lie. And so indulges in a heterosexual relationship growing up.
It's only after his girl Hella moves away for a short trip when he moves out and discovers his long-suppressed feelings as a man. He meets Giovanni, a handsome barman; to get him acquainted to his own friend Jacques, he holds up a conversation. Only to realise, Giovanni's interest lies only in him.
From friends to lovers, was quite easy a transition, but it didn't last long. Hella's comeback with her brought the fear of the past, David's incapability of accepting who he was. Soon, he moved out of Giovanni's room and left a bitter experience of love behind.
While he moved on, nothing seemed to be the same. He had the love of his life—Hella, but love was nowhere to be felt. Giovanni's death sentence was the last blow and his life broke down like a house of cards in a go. He lingered with what he knew; only his acceptance came now. In the end, all he was left with, was hope—that the heavy grace of God, which brought him to the place, can carry him out it.
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Reviewed in India on 25 June 2020
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One person found this helpful
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Reviewed in India on 2 May 2019
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Reviewed in India on 1 July 2019
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Reviewed in India on 12 August 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful writing
By Kishore on 12 August 2020
Loved the cover.
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Reviewed in India on 6 February 2021
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely
By D on 6 February 2021
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Reviewed in India on 28 March 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding - One of the best books I've ever read.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 18 August 2018
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15 people found this helpful
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Peter Fowler
1.0 out of 5 stars Grey, Grey and Grey
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 3 January 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 June 2016
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12 people found this helpful
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fiction
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 31 March 2019
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Waggy From Derby
5.0 out of 5 stars Sad andbeautiful
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