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Beautiful prose. A true classic!
on June 18, 2001
"Giovanni's Room" by James Baldwin is a beautiful novel about the struggling sexuality of a young American expatriate, David.
David is living in Paris, and while there, he meets Hella. David is quite determined to live a "normal" life, with wife, kids and all. But while Hella is away in Spain ("to consider David's proposal") David has an affair with the handsome Italian bartender, Giovanni.
Although the time setting of this novel is in the 1950's, "Giovanni's Room" is a timeless novel, and anyone regardless of time-period, can easily identify with the different characters.
Once I started reading this book, I found it almost impossible to put it down. Actually, I finished it in one long day...
In the 1950'ies it wasn't easy to be neither gay nor black. The author James Baldwin was both. I think he was immensely brave to write "Giovanni's room", especially since he did so, in a time when it was hard to be either one, black or gay. Some of the other reviewers said that "if you are not paying a lot of attention you probably wouldn't even know that the book is about homosexuality" - not to be disrespectful, although Baldwin's writing technique in this book is impressive, I have a hard time understanding how one could possibly avoid picking up that the book is about homosexuality...
Anyway, I think that "Giovanni's Room" is one of James Baldwin's best works, and I highly recommend the book!