James Baldwin (1924-1987)


James Baldwin was black, poor and gay and living in America in the middle of the 20th century – so naturally he was an angry young man.  His books reflect this well.

I was keen to read his books, but unfortunately, when I read this one, I didn’t really enjoy it.  The writing was fine and the setting and characters interesting, but to me it didn’t go anywhere.  I read it in the 2000s.  Maybe it needed to be read before 1969 for it to impact.

Apparently, it is considered “sprawling” and “experimental” by other reviewers (as stated on Wikipedia).  So I will give his other famous novel, Giovanni’s Room, a go, even though it does have only white characters.

There’s no doubt though, he depicts the America of that era well.  Certainly worth a try, if only for its iconic value.

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