Review: Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room
by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have not already, you owe it to yourself to spend some time in 1950's Paris, in Giovanni's room. 

James Baldwin's classic novel is a lyrical book both beautiful and frustrating. Beautiful for its language - the sentences just flow and I found it very hard to put this book down. Frustrating because it's the 1950's and so the love that the narrator David finds in Paris is hopeless, because David is a product of his time - oh so closeted and terribly selfish.

This book is full of small details while it carefully avoids getting too detailed about the heart of the story. Though it gets much closer in its depiction of love between two men (and for that matter love between a man and woman) than I would have thought possible for a book published in 1953, still it dances around it's main topic. David is a careful narrator, who does not want to admit to himself the love that he has found, and he makes a mess of things because of it. 

Yes, the times and attitudes were different then, but there is something in this story that seems timeless to me. I hated to come to the end of this one, and I am sorry that I've never picked it up before now.  Highly recommend.

Giovanni's Room links

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