James Baldwin’s groundbreaking novel about love and the fear of love is set among the bohemian bars and nightclubs of 1950s Paris.
David is a young American expatriate who has just proposed marriage to his girlfriend, Hella. While she is away on a trip, David meets a bartender named Giovanni to whom he is drawn in spite of himself. Soon the two are spending the night in Giovanni’s curtainless room, which he keeps dark to protect their privacy. But Hella’s return to Paris brings the affair to a crisis, one that rapidly spirals into tragedy. Caught between his repressed desires and conventional morality, David struggles for self-knowledge during one long, dark night—“the night which is leading me to the most terrible morning of my life.” With sharp, probing insight, Giovanni's Room tells an impassioned, deeply moving story that lays bare the unspoken complexities of the human heart.
Introduction by Colm Tóibín
About James BaldwinSee more books from this Author
James Baldwin captures the terror and the fear, but also the joy and the amazement of being gay in Giovanni's Room. Frank and urgent, the narrative voice casts a strange spell over the reader.Read Full Review of Giovanni's Room (Penguin Mode... | See more reviews from Guardian
Giovanni's Room was a mesmerizing book for a young seminarian — a fantasy of forbidden bars and a homosexuality that was taboo to even talk about, to acknowledge...Read Full Review of Giovanni's Room (Penguin Mode... | See more reviews from NPR
Still, it’s both elegant and raw, romantic and honest - one of Baldwin’s greatest achievements. And despite its depressing ending, it still managed to give ‘50s gay readers hope, if only because it affirmed our existence on the planet.Read Full Review of Giovanni's Room (Penguin Mode...
This gay classic is 50 years old. In these days of out and proud people from all walks of life, what a difference half a century makes. It's almost impossible to fathom that at a time when much gay fiction was written under pseudonyms...Read Full Review of Giovanni's Room (Penguin Mode...
Love does not conquer all in James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room, a groundbreaking contribution to gay literature that shocked literati with its portrayal of an American expatriate, David, who falls for an Italian bartender named Giovanni.Read Full Review of Giovanni's Room (Penguin Mode...
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