Tananarive Due's Reviews > Another Country

Another Country by James Baldwin
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Jun 13, 10

Read in June, 2010

I love Baldwin's writing style, but this novel has been in my bathroom (read: "library") for months, and I'm only making progress a few pages at a time. An original paperback copy sat in my office for years before that. I was curious about a novel featuring mostly white characters--and it's very well-written, but I have had some trouble engaging over the long term.

ADDENDUM: I'm a softie. I'll just get that out. So I'm giving this book five stars although I suspect it might only deserve four...but I can't say. It's Baldwin. It's brilliant. There are observations or turns of phrase one could quote on almost every page.

At one point, Baldwin faced such writer's block with this manuscript that he considered it "unpublishable." He said his characters wouldn't talk to him. He had to isolate himself in Turkey to finish it.

Like the author, there were times I fell out of engagement with it and put it down for a while...the characters do get "talky"...but then when I came back to it, I inhaled it. The real marvel, to me, is the historical and social context in which this was written. ..probably in 1959 or 1960... Baldwin's New York fascinated me--a window into the club scene in a bygone era. Still incredibly sharp and relevant, and light years ahead of its time in its frank depiction of human sexuality. Baldwin's grasp of human psychology, and his language to elucidate his theories, are a joy.

If you've overlooked this novel by James Baldwin, it is worth reading.
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Reading Progress

06/08/2010 page 258
57.08% "I'm knocking this one out in the next day or so!"
06/13/2010 "Finished!"

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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message 1: by Cynthia (new) - added it

Cynthia I have this on my list to re-read. I read it too many years ago and do not remember it at all. I love your reading list!!


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