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Giovanni's Room (Vintage International)

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Giovanni's Room (Vintage International) Cover

ISBN13: 9780345806567
ISBN10: 0345806565
All Product Details

 

Staff Pick

It would be difficult to talk about James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room and not touch on the simple fact that this slim novel, published in 1956, is mainly a love story between two men. It seems impossible to think such a thing could be published pre-Stonewall, but such is the genius of Baldwin and the way he captures the complexities of desire, love, and the tragic cost that comes from not following your heart. "Somebody...should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished...for the lack of it." This emotional wonder of a book comes down to two things: love and death. And really, what else is there in life?
Recommended by Kate, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

From Powells.com:

Publisher Comments:

Set in the 1950s Paris of American expatriates, liaisons, and violence, a young man finds himself caught between desire and conventional morality. With a sharp, probing imagination, James Baldwin's now-classic narrative delves into the mystery of loving and creates a moving, highly controversial story of death and passion that reveals the unspoken complexities of the human heart.

Review:

“If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one.” Michael Ondaatje

Review:

“A young American involved with both a woman and a man....Baldwin writes of these matters with unusual candor and yet with such dignity and intensity.” The New York Times

Review:

“Absorbing...[with] immediate emotional impact.” The Washington Post

Review:

“Exciting...a book that belongs in the top rank of fiction.” The Atlantic

Review:

“Violent, excruciating beauty.” San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

“To be James Baldwin is to touch on so many hidden places in Europe, America, the Negro, the white man — to be forced to understand so much.” Alfred Kazin

Review:

“He has not himself lost access to the sources of his being — which is what makes him read and awaited by perhaps a wider range of people than any other major American writer.” The Nation

Review:

“He is thought-provoking, tantalizing, irritating, abusing and amusing. And he uses words as the sea uses waves, to flow and beat, advance and retreat, rise and take a bow in disappearing...the thought becomes poetry and the poetry illuminates thought.” Langston Hughes

Review:

“He has become one of the few writers of our time.” Norman Mailer

About the Author

James Baldwin was the author of Go Tell It on the Mountain and The Fire Next Time, among other books.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Scot Nakagawa, September 3, 2014 (view all comments by Scot Nakagawa)
I was reminded of Giovanni's Room when it appeared on Powells list of 25 Books to Read Before You Die. I'd read Giovanni's Room years ago, along with just about every word written by James Baldwin to find it's way to publication, and found it to be all that I first loved and more - truly a bucket-list novel if you haven't already read it, and a must re-read if you have.

On the back cover of my current copy (Vintage International Trade Paperback Edition, September 2013), Michael Ondaatje summed up James Baldwin's influence on contemporary culture, writing, "If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one." Indeed, James Baldwin is, in many ways, the 20th-century version of Van Gogh, an artist who changed the way we see art in the western world by offering mind-opening impressions rather than pure representations of his subjects which were, in turn, humble - the people, places, and objects that populated the lives of ordinary people who were regarded, at last, as worthy of a place in the world of high art in the modern, post-feudal world.

Like Van Gogh, Baldwin drew our attentions to lives lived on the margins of the known world in the 20th century as they were just beginning their push toward the center, and all while the center was disintegrating. In Giovanni's Room, he broke new ground, telling a story of queer love and the destructive force of bigotry and internalized self-hatred. Baldwin challenged us to step into the post-modern age, to embrace the specificity of experience beyond class and oppressive gender norms. James Baldwin's voice is prophetic, lyrical, emotional, riveting us to every page, right down to the last word.

In the post-Stonewall era, Giovanni's Room has taken on new meaning. It reads as historical fiction, a reminder of who we once were and how far we have come on a humanizing journey that the whole of Baldwin's oeuvre suggests is never-ending. Instead, to consciously embrace the journey beginning with accepting ourselves as inseparable from the "other" is the first act of humanization, the flip side of which is the process of reducing ourselves to less than we are or could be that results from separating us from them, as though these ideas are, in fact, descriptive of distinct and separable wholes.

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Product Details

ISBN:
9780345806567
Author:
Baldwin, James
Publisher:
Vintage Books
Author:
Baldwin, James A.
Subject:
Gay
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Publication Date:
20130931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Language:
English
Pages:
176
Dimensions:
7.99 x 5.17 x 0.55 in 0.39 lb

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Related Subjects

Featured Titles » Literature
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Gay and Lesbian » Fiction and Poetry » Gay Fiction

Giovanni's Room (Vintage International) New Trade Paper
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Product details 176 pages Vintage Books - English 9780345806567 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

It would be difficult to talk about James Baldwin's Giovanni's Room and not touch on the simple fact that this slim novel, published in 1956, is mainly a love story between two men. It seems impossible to think such a thing could be published pre-Stonewall, but such is the genius of Baldwin and the way he captures the complexities of desire, love, and the tragic cost that comes from not following your heart. "Somebody...should have told us that not many people have ever died of love. But multitudes have perished...for the lack of it." This emotional wonder of a book comes down to two things: love and death. And really, what else is there in life?

"Review" by , “If Van Gogh was our 19th-century artist-saint, James Baldwin is our 20th-century one.”
"Review" by , “A young American involved with both a woman and a man....Baldwin writes of these matters with unusual candor and yet with such dignity and intensity.”
"Review" by , “Absorbing...[with] immediate emotional impact.”
"Review" by , “Exciting...a book that belongs in the top rank of fiction.”
"Review" by , “Violent, excruciating beauty.”
"Review" by , “To be James Baldwin is to touch on so many hidden places in Europe, America, the Negro, the white man — to be forced to understand so much.”
"Review" by , “He has not himself lost access to the sources of his being — which is what makes him read and awaited by perhaps a wider range of people than any other major American writer.”
"Review" by , “He is thought-provoking, tantalizing, irritating, abusing and amusing. And he uses words as the sea uses waves, to flow and beat, advance and retreat, rise and take a bow in disappearing...the thought becomes poetry and the poetry illuminates thought.”
"Review" by , “He has become one of the few writers of our time.”
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