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Giovanni's Room (Modern Library)
Synopses & Reviews
Baldwin's haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality, and a classic of gay literature. In a 1950s Paris swarming with expatriates and characterized by dangerous liaisons and hidden violence, an American finds himself unable to repress his impulses, despite his determination to live the conventional life he envisions for himself After meeting and proposing to a young woman, he falls into a lengthy affair with an Italian bartender and is confounded and tortured by his sexual identity as he oscillates between the two.
Examining the mystery of love and passion in an intensely imagined narrative, Baldwin creates a moving and complex story of death and desire that is revelatory in its insight.
Baldwin's haunting and controversial second novel is his most sustained treatment of sexuality. The protagonist, a white expatriate living in Paris, is confounded and tortured by his sexual identity, as he oscillates between a male and female lover. In it's uncompromising depiction of self-alienation and the merciless power of social convention, "Giovanni's Room" ranks with Baldwin's best.
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