James Baldwin by James Baldwin
Early Novels and Stories: Go Tell It on a Mountain / Giovanni's Room / Another Country / Going to Meet the Man (Library of America)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 23 Critic Reviews

unrated

Synopsis

Here, in a Library of America volume edited by Nobel laureate Toni Morrison, is the fiction that established James Baldwin's reputation as a writer who fused unblinking realism and rare verbal eloquence. His first novel, Go Tell It on the Mountain (1953), tells the story, rooted in Baldwin's own experience, of a preacher's son coming of age in 1930's Harlem. Ten years in the writing, its exploration of religious, sexual, and generational conflicts was described by Baldwin as "an attempt to exorcise something, to find out what happened to my father, what happened to all of us." Giovanni's Room (1956) is a searching, and in its day controversial, treatment of the tragic self-delusions of a young American expatriate at war with his own homosexuality. Another Country (1962), a wide-ranging exploration of America's racial and sexual boundaries, depicts the suicide of a gifted jazz musician and its ripple effect on those who knew him. Complex in structure and turbulent in mood, it is in many ways Baldwin's most ambitious novel. Going to Meet the Man (1965) collects Baldwin's short fiction, including the masterful "Sonny's Blues," the unforgettable portrait of a jazz musician struggling with drug addiction in which Baldwin came closest to defining his goal as a writer: "For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it must be heard. There isn't any other tale to tell, it's the only light we've got in all this darkness."
 

About James Baldwin

See more books from this Author
 
Published February 1, 1998 by Library of America. 992 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for James Baldwin

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

With the exception of "The Man Child," a macabre, faintly Lawrentian study of repressed love between two white men in the rural South, all of Baldwin's tales here deal in one form or another with the Negro problem.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

A short and vacuous semi-revised transcription of a discussion between the young black poet and well-known novelist taped for U.S. television late in 1971.

Sep 16 2011 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

(The extent of his over-exposure can be gauged by Esquire's recent, impertinent question: ""Has LeRoi Jones replaced James Baldwin?"") Baldwin the novelist continues to magnetize serious inquiry--the sort once reserved for Faulkner and Hemingway in their own lifetimes.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

A big new novel by James Baldwin is always of major interest, and there are scenes here of Baldwin at his earthy, lyrical best.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

By sketching the emergence of the black middle class and its complicity in maintaining the "white" rules, and the white flight from the city to the suburbs--leaving a mostly black, impoverished city.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

This new Baldwin novel is told by a 19-year-old black girl named Tish in a New York City ghetto about how she fell in love with a young black man, Fonny.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

But by the late ’50s and early ’60s, Baldwin’s thinking about American racism matured, balancing reason and outrage, and many of the pieces are worthy companions to his provocative essay collection The Fire Next Time (1963).

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

recalls reading Baldwin's 1955 essay collection, ''Notes of a Native Son,'' as a teen-ager in 1965: ''It was the first time I had heard a voice capturing the terrible exhilaration and anxiety of being a person of African descent in this country.'' Robert Penn Warren recorded another incident from...

Mar 29 1998 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Times

See more reviews from this publication

His subjects are American materialism, American bigotry, American idealism;

Apr 13 1994 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The Guardian

See more reviews from this publication

guardian.co.uk Latest books added to lists Added by mrfoxx ...

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

English author Campbell (Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin) has loosely strung together interesting anecdotes about the group of expatriate writers and artists who lived and worked on the Left Bank after WWII.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

James Baldwin fascinates and is fascinated with Harlem.

Aug 07 2008 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Dallas News

In "We Can Change the Country," a 1963 speech, Baldwin sounds both ancestral and immediate in his call for civil rights, imploring: "If we don't now move, literally move, sit down, stand, walk, don't go to work, don't pay rent, if we don't now do everything in our power to change this country, th...

Aug 29 2010 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Pajiba

Often brutally honest in its exploration of relationships, willful ignorance and jealousy, it remains an intense and uncomfortably familiar read.

Mar 23 2010 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

If you subscribe to the print edition, you may also need to link your web site account to your print subscription.

Jan 21 1988 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

That would have been the early Delmore Schwartz, when he, too, had a soft, breathy voice, careful diction, fancifulness, and an immense delight in books—the Delmore who likened himself to a Hershey bar and was writing at about that time of the red shoes of the Duchesse de Guermantes, not the craz...

Apr 27 1989 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

Cleaver says that Baldwin attacked Mailer, a white opponent of white supremacy, because of Baldwin’s “total hatred of blacks, particularly of himself.” Baldwin’s “interpretation” of the Paris Conference of Negro-African Artists and Writers in 1956, Cleaver goes on to claim, makes his “antipathy”...

Nov 19 1998 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

James Baldwin had a way of sometimes signing off at the end of his books—”Istanbul, Dec. 10, 1961,” “New York, Istanbul, San Francisco, 1965-1967,” or “Oct. 12, 1973, St. Paul de Vence.” Maybe the words spoke to Baldwin about the labor of composition, suggesting rooms where he’d worked, nights wh...

Apr 13 2000 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

Baldwin wrote that there was something buried in his father which had lent him When Obama was a child, he wrote, “my father looked nothing like the people around me—that he was black as pitch, my mother white as milk.” In both cases too, the writers sought to make clear that their fathers’ ...

Oct 23 2008 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

As a writer of polemical essays on the Negro question James Baldwin has no equals.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

The New York Review of Books

The following was originally given as a talk at Town Hall in New York City in February to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of The New York Review.

Apr 04 2013 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

AARP

If you already know a good deal about African American author James Baldwin and the arc of his extraordinary career, you will enjoy and benefit from journalist Herb Boyd's new book, Baldwin's Harlem, more so than if your knowledge is slim.

| Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

http://www.lareviewofbooks.org

And week upon week, we'd go and we'd wait and at last James Baldwin's factotum would come in and apologize, sort of, for the great man's absence.

Jan 06 2012 | Read Full Review of James Baldwin: Early Novels a...

Reader Rating for James Baldwin
97%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 9 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review