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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.
Masterful storyteller. I loved this book and what Baldwin teaches me from a writer's perspective. It is my first time reading Baldwin and he did not disappoint me; not one bit. He writing is raw, enlightening and compelling. If you gain from this book consider reading his short story 'Going to Meet the Man'; it is the most compelling piece of fiction I have read aside from Flannery O'Connor's short story 'A Good Man is Hard to Find.' Both are chilling but Baldwin's is more so. Be prepared for something like you have never read before.
I read this book for a book club and so came to it with little knowledge. It took a while to get into but the effort is more than worthwhile. The book covers the topics of racism, religion and family tensions so is not exactly an easy read but is very good. Would be an 8.5 or 9 out of 10 book
I read this for my book club. Almost everyone in the book club loved it, but we all had different perspectives on it. For some people it resonated with their experiences of being raised in very religious environments. For me, the major themes were about the difference between ur actual behaviour and what we show to the world, and the queer subtext. This is a story that will stay with me.
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