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Going to Meet the Man

4.31 of 5 stars 4.31  ·  rating details  ·  2,408 ratings  ·  155 reviews
"There's no way not to suffer. But you try all kinds of ways to keep from drowning in it." The men and women in these eight short fictions grasp this truth on an elemental level, and their stories, as told by James Baldwin, detail the ingenious and often desperate ways in which they try to keep their head above water. It may be the heroin that a down-and-out jazz pianist u ...more
Paperback, First Vintage International, 249 pages
Published April 25th 1995 by Vintage Books a division of Random House (first published 1965)
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James Baldwin. James fucking Baldwin.
Love of my life. Master of prose. Destroyer of my heart.
Perfectly incredible selection of short stories that ripped me to pieces. Devastating and wonderful.
Goddammit, my love for Baldwin has only increased. What a perfect way to start 2015's reading.
Richard Vialet
I was slightly disappointed with the first novel I read by the late great James Baldwin, Giovanni's Room. Although I found it difficult to empathize with the main character (who I found to be a little whiny and spoiled), I was really taken by how beautiful Baldwin's writing was. It was enough to keep me interested in reading more of his work and I'm glad I chose this book as the next one. This solid collection of 8 short stories is a great primer to his writing style and the themes that permeate ...more
Everytime I read one of these short stories, in particular 'Going to meet the man', I found my jaw dropping open in amazement: the detail, the horror of human nature, Baldwin's ability and humanity through it all...completely awe-inspiring.
Amazing; my first exposure to James Baldwin was in my Modern American Literature class. The short story "Going to Meet the Man" lured me in, I resolved to read this whole book when I got the chance. It is a collection of several short stories by Baldwin, dissecting the ideas of love, hate, life, death, sexuality and race with his persistently poignant prose. The way he treats the subject of death is unlike any author I have encountered. The death of a child in both "The Man-Child" and "Sonny's B ...more
Bobby Bermea
"Then it was over. Creole and Sonny let out their breath, both soaking wet, and grinning. There was a lot of applause and some of it was real. In the dark, the girl came by and I asked her to take drinks to the bandstand. There was a long pause, while they talked up there in the indigo light and after a while I saw the girl put a scotch and milk on top of the piano for Sonny. He didn't seem to notice it, but just before they started playing again, he sipped from it and looked toward me, and nodd ...more
These eight short stories will leave you hungry for more writing my Baldwin. They are all powerful and each one a different perspective on the issue of race in America. Not beating a dead horse by any means they allow the reader to view first hand through the eyes of man, woman, child, black and white, what racial apartheid / hatred / apathy does to the doer, the recipient and the indifferent. Each story leaves an impression upon the psyche. Some more than others. Worth reading more than once.

Jabiz Raisdana
Baldwin is a master. I wish each of these short stories was a full novel that never ended. I could read his words forever and not get tried. His characters are all wounded, dark, and suffering just the way I like, but they are also filled with joy and hope and in search of a better world. Again, not really for younger readers, but read Baldwin when you are in IB or Uni, you will love it.
Maughn Gregory
This week one of my African-American students, 19 years old, told the class he is a racist. When I asked him to explain he only said, "Well, everyone's racist." I first started reading James Baldwin many years ago, before I understood and acknowledged the truth of what my student said. I loved his writing but didn't know what to do with his rage. Today, with my consciousness somewhat raised, I find Baldwin just as compelling and even more troubling. All of these stories were painful to read and ...more
what can i say, i love "sonny's blues" too. the rest of his writing appeals to me, but not as much. i have a really bad memory but i can still remember reading sonny's blues for the first time. that image of him playing the piano at the end and the "very cup of trembling" they might as well be etched into my brain matter. they've stuck with me for ten years, and i'll continue to be influenced by that story.
David Hollingsworth
James Baldwin's short story collection is one of the most beautifully written, profound collections of short stories I've ever read. To me, Baldwin's greatest talent is his ability to balance societal issues (racism, homophobia, poverty, etc) and personal issues in each short story, as well as show the connection between the two. Many people who write about serious socio-political issues in their fiction have characters that are only (or mostly) defined in the story by their relation to that iss ...more
Whew! I've put off reading Baldwin - having 1st heard of him as much as 35+ yrs ago. This was everything I expected it to be.. & more. I was expecting devastating looks at American racism & that was certainly there - esp in the sickening title story. But there's much, much more. The sensitiveness of the language is on a par w/ Nabokov. There were so many points that I cd relate to. Baldwin articulates everything in such a clear-headed way - he makes the characters so easy to feel - even ...more
Kate Walker
These stories were very haunting. Often an unexpected dimension is revealed toward the end of the story or in an unexpected place in the middle which lends the stories a sometimes spooky feel. The first story reminded me of a Flannery O'Connor. A number of the stories portrayed relationships on the margin... age and race differences, young gay relationships and extra-marital relationships. A relationship about to break up told from the point of view of the woman expecting to get dumped by her bo ...more
Anja Boskovic
One of those books that I will be going back to again an again until it is tatoo'd to my soul.
James Baldwin writes with such insight and beautiful description. I particularly noticed his careful attention to sound and music in these stories. We can see echoes of Baldwin's life in the stories, but Baldwin branches out to explore the points of view of many characters, some of whom are grossly unsympathetic (like the sheriff torturer in a small Southern community), but all of whom are very much human and not presented as caricatures. Baldwin often takes the point of view of a woman, and he ...more
Wow. James Baldwin is an absolute master. I've read and taught "Sonny's Blues," so many times over the years, but this is the first time I've read this entire collection, and it just devastated me in that way only the best fiction and writing can do. He writes from so many different POVs and perspectives, from the perspective of young kids, with two stories following the same two kids, as the older of the two, and the only one from the mothers pre-married life, endures the hate of his step-fathe ...more
What an magnificent and harrowing collection. The Man Child is an indictment of the vicious cycle that sharecroppers often faced when trying to find the cash to buy their land, but end up in debt, with tragic results ending with the murder of an innocent boy; Going to Meet the Man is a horrifying account of a racist sheriff, about to have sex with his wife, reminisces when his parents took him to see a live lynching of a black man, his testicles ripped off of him; Come out in the Wilderness is a ...more
As with any short story collection, some are better than others, so I'm going to give star ratings to each one. I recommend skipping the first three and just reading the final five.

"The Rockpile" 3 stars. I was dismayed to discover that this book contains two stories about the characters from "Go Tell It on the Mountain" which I barely liked. Johnny is a flat character to me, and I didn't want to spend any more time with him.

"The Outing" 4 stars. More Johnny/Roy/Gabriel, but the change to a sylv
I appreciate his realistic representation of those times, and the horror that they were for the African American population in the USA. I don't mean to discredit anything that Baldwin wrote.

I gave only two stars simply because I did not enjoy reading it very much, doubt I will ever want to read it again, and did not experience any historical revelations along the way.
Simply an outstanding short story collection. Story after story, I kept saying to myself, "Oh, yes, that's very, very true! I never thought of it that way before!" Even the single story that I thought was bordering on mundane, by my standards, had those very same "Ah, hah!" moments. But as good as everything before it was, nothing quite prepares you for the power of the collection's title story, "Going to Meet the Man". If all the stories before it were like a friend gently poking their finger o ...more
i would not recommend finishing this book in a public setting.
Elli (The Bibliophile)
Towards the beginning of February I was in a pretty bad reading slump. I finally decided to pick up this collection of short stories. The first 3 stories were ok, but I didn't love them. However, the last 5 stories are all really good! The final story was brutal- pretty tough to read.

Overall the writing in all of these stories was wonderful. This isn't surprising, given that they were written by James Baldwin!

I think that if you enjoyed James Baldwin's other works, you will definitely find read
This collection-- containing eight excellent James Baldwin short stories-- reminds me of the adage about poetry, that a poem is not "about" anything-- it just is. I feel that way about many of these stories, which take in a lot of different ideas and experiences but filter them through characters that are real, complicated, and human. The book contains two stories that borrow characters and ideas from Go Tell it on the Mountain-- one of which, "The Outing," is a true knockout, with a final sente ...more
Baldwin's writing is direct, powerful, and true. While I'm sure what he's known for is his voice - which is extremely strong - what I actually found most impressive was how he managed to depict fully-fleshed characters with the sparest of brush strokes. The characters are likable and complex - and his depiction of Caucasian characters is particularly well done, to me. They are neither evil nor ignorant, they are more often sympathetic even in cases where they are impotent.

Going to Meet the Man i
Mar 24, 2015 Leah rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those interested in black culture
Recommended to Leah by: My University Reading List
A truly emotional read that presents the racism of America in the early part of the 20th century. Written in different points of view and different story lines; each part is a captivating read.

I actually read this whilst away on holiday, and then on the train home I read the last book. Whilst i was reading, I was very conscious of the woman next to me. She was of African origin and the word 'nigger' kept popping up every 5 or so lines! I was concerned that she would feel I was some racist youth,
Gabriel Nita
O colecție compusă din opt povestiri, toate centrate, direct sau indirect, pe problema rasială, pe viața negrilor în Statele Unite, pe sărăcia din Harlem, pe abuzurile albilor, pe cicatricele sufletești pe care frica le lasă în urmă. Ultima povestire, și cea care dă numele volumului, e singura în care personajul principal e de partea cealaltă a baricadei, abuzatorul, nu abuzatul, albul, nu negrul, iar acesta rememorează un episod violent la care a asistat în copilărie: linșarea unui negru de căt ...more
Vanessa (V.C.)
These collections of short stories from James Baldwin were for the most part a really intense, deep, and raw portrayal of the trials and tribulations of black people dealing with racism, bigotry, infidelity, and unimaginable pain and horrors that are very reflective of the African American experience.

They're all very well-written, however, the majority of these stories either are very boring or just don't really grab the reader's attention long enough to read it in its entirety.

The highlights:
James Baldwin’s talents as an author are as numerous as the many subjects he addresses in Going to Meet the Man, a collection of short stories originally published in 1965. These stories can be analyzed from many different perspectives, and Baldwin’s use of point of view, for example, often switches back and forth from the oppressor to the oppressed. However, no matter which perspective Baldwin writes, he does so with an unflinching understanding of origins. In the title story, Jesse, a racist m ...more
This is Baldwin's collection of short stories. At first I wanted to give it a 4 because I did not like the first two stories. But then the other 6 stories blew me away, so I have decided to give 'Going to Meet the Man' 5 stars for those.

These haunting stories have made a deep impression on me. Each story is more intese than the last one. While at least one of the stories was in first person, it is kind of hard to remember which ones exactly, because he really has a way of writing in 3rd person
My god, this was searing. A friend gave this to me because he'd seen me reading "Another Country", and through the first half of this collection of short stories I thought perhaps this was a different approach for Baldwin - gentler, less incandescently enraged. Some of his prose is so beautiful it catches in your throat if you try to read it aloud: the way he talks about loss (past and looming), the pain that suffuses the human condition, the love (amorous, frateral, parental) has a near viscera ...more
Annie  Schoening
4 out of 5 stars for Baldwin means it's only one of his minor masterpieces. It's got the famous Sonny's Blues, but the titular story is maybe more memorable for its stomach-churning depiction of white supremacy, as it should be. What I paid particular attention to was his portrayal of women, and women in relationships, since he's often accused of being wee bit sexist and patriarchal in his view of femininity. There's plenty to unpack in this collection for fellow lady Baldwin stans.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.

James Baldwin offered a vital literary voice during the era of civil rights activism in the 1950s and '60s. The eldest of nine children, his stepfather was a minister. At age 14, Bal
More about James Baldwin...
Go Tell It on the Mountain Giovanni's Room The Fire Next Time Notes of a Native Son Another Country

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“After departure, only invisible things are left, perhaps the life of the world is held together by invisible chains of memory and loss and love. So many things, so many people, depart! And we can only repossess them in our minds.” 17 likes
“Secrets hidden at the heart of midnight are simply waiting to be dragged to the light, as, on some unlucky high noon, they always are. But secrets shrouded in the glare of candor are bound to defeat even the most determined and agile inspector for the light is always changing and proves that the eye cannot be trusted.” 9 likes
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