Amazon.in:Customer reviews: James Baldwin: Early Novels & Stories (LOA #97): Go Tell It on the Mountain / Giovanni's Room / Another Country / Going to Meet the Man: 2 (Library of America James Baldwin Edition)
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Interesting perception of the fifties/sixties regarding civil rights for gay and African Americans. Decided to read this following reading Baldwin s biography Excellent quality writing painting a very visual picture of the times. I don't usually read fiction but mainly regarding civil rights of the period. Will follow up with reading more of Baldwin s work.
I came to Baldwin around the age of 14 (I am now 47 - a white Britain who prefers to be known as a citizen of the world) and he marked me. His extraordinary stories about a life so foreign in many ways to my own, and yet still having some resonance. Stories about people. I grew up in a multi-cultural school in South London and had friends from all parts of the world - or whose families originated in other parts of the world - and when I left school to go into the big wide world I wondered where all my colourful friends had disappeared to, so even in 70s London, there was some echos of Baldwin's experiences. But for me as much for the learning he offered me about his life of colour, his 'outsiderness' - which I could sometimes relate to especially - it was the wonderful writing. I'm a big fan of American Literature, so if I could only take two writers with me to the desert island (Shakespeare already awaiting me) it would be Baldwin and F Scott Fitzgerald. The writing of both is mindblowing, and they both have so much to say about modern life - whenever that modern life occurs - I'm sure even in the 23rd Century they will have something to say - about race/class/variety/diversity/pain and laughter. And joy, let's not forget joy.
As well as the novels and short stories the powerful and fiery essays burned in my soul, made me question, led me to other African American writers and artists and spirits.
This is a volume in the Library of America series, so it is a handy size, packs a lot in (LoA uses thin paper, so volumes run 900-1000 pages), presents reliable editions, has a bookmark ribbon built in, is a durable, high-quality clothbound volume, and is a very good value. I've read a lot of Baldwin's prose, mainly about race in America, and find it eloquent, deeply intelligent, and powerfully moving. I had never gotten around to reading his fiction, but I'm very glad I got into it. I started with "Giovanni's Room," a short novel set in Paris. The narrator is struggling to come to terms with his sexuality--even just to figure out what it is. There are very luminous, very beautiful pages about Paris itself. The dialogue is engaging and intelligent--characters talk about their feelings as they struggle with what they want, what their deepest values are, and draw closer or farther apart in their relationships with each other. Baldwin is a very good, very thoughtful writer. I look forward to reading more of his fiction, and I particularly recommend these LoA volumes.
Powerful ideas and poetic language. I only wish he were with us today. His passionate fury was only surpassed by his loving forgiveness. Do yourself a favor and read as much Baldwin as you can...start with his “letter to my nephew” if you want a taster of his brilliance
James does such a great job on telling his stories that you feel like you are in the room with the characters....very few writers can do this as well. If you are looking to understand racism better or what it is like being a gay man before Harvey Milk read these stories.