‘Giovanni’s Room’ by James Baldwin
I came across this book in one of my courses at university this year. This was my first encounter with Baldwin’s writing, and I was hooked from the first sentence:
“I stand at the window of this great house in the south of France as night falls, the night which is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life.”
Great, isn’t it? But that isn’t all! Baldwin has a unique an insight into the complexities of human personality; the inner world of his characters is described with such clarity, precision and simplicity and when it’s not being described, you find their fragments sprawling out into his dialogues and symbolisms. It’s such an incredibly vivid book!
Although problematic in many areas if we choose to read it through modern-day sexual politics, there is still a lot to learn from this book’s themes of (internalised) homophobia, racism and oppression. In short there’s a lot more here than just the 150 pages of this book.