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Obviously James Baldwin is one of the greatest writers of all time so I don’t need to preach about his masterful use of language and pacing and characterisation (although I just have 🤣) but I do want to tell you that even if you are an atheist - as I am - you can still take something from this novel. Yes, there were some dense passages on nothing more than the bible and God, and yes, these were a little tedious at times, but the bigger picture here is this family; John’s family, and how they came to be who and where they are now.
I loved how Baldwin took us effortlessly from past to present in order to explore how these characters became what they are in the present day.
I felt unsure and disconcerted while reading this because I was thinking about myself and my own life instead of just reading the words Baldwin had given me. I was constantly thinking about this poor young boy who is gay but will never get acceptance for that. And his religious awakening I saw more as a cry for help. One that will never be answered because the era in which he lives is not equipped to give him what he needs. Very sad. But then I feel this way after finishing any Baldwin novel.
James Baldwin writes of anger and frustration amongst the black community at the height of the Civil Rights movement. His experience as a young black suffering prejudice sits uncomfortably with the non-conformist, evangelical Christian upbringing. Not the equal of Another Country
This book has many sad insights into our current race tensions and disparity, and they are just as heartbreaking as today's headlines. Also addressed deeply is the role of religion for good and for ill. And it's preachy.