Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is one slick piece of writing. Like whiskey, this tale of universal love, desire, and the boxes we put ourselves in burns as it goes down, but like most fires of love, when it comes back up, it's very messy.
Of course, I could be talking about any kind of romance novel, but this one is special because it is written by a master of prose, it came out in the '50s, and it is a classic of gay literature. Or is it?
I don't know.
The writing transcends sexual orientation, the color of his skin (black), and dives right into the heart of what it means to be trapped. Trapped by love, by expectations, by poverty, by the community, or by your own pig-headedness.
Suffice to say, it's rather universal. I'm sure lots of people might raise their hands and say this is one of THE seminal pieces of black literature or gay literature, but I just see it as great literature. :)
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