mark monday's Reviews > Giovanni's Room

Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
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Mar 18, 14

bookshelves: queertime

poetic prose at its most yearning and beautiful. this could have been perfection, but it is a bit hard to ignore the underlying misogyny.
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drowningmermaid I'm only just starting it, but I'm kinda getting the feeling that the misogyny goes hand in hand with the homosexuality... will have to read more.

message 2: by mark (last edited Jun 30, 2014 02:59PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

mark monday I don't think misogyny and homosexuality are automatically linked, quite the opposite much of the time. but there has been a virulent strain of misogyny that has reared its head from time to time in various homosexual male communities. transphobia as well. I am assuming (and hoping) such things are increasingly becoming a thing of the past.

as far as this novel goes, I don't think Baldwin himself is a misogynist. but this beautiful novel does have its issues, at least for me.

Hugo I also found it hard to ignore. But I think the novel redeems itself somewhat through the character Hella. She would say these really unfeminist things like:
"I’m not really the emancipated girl I try to be at all. I guess I just want a man to come home to me every night. (...) I want to be knocked up. I want to start having babies. In a way, it’s really all I’m good for.’ There was silence again. ‘Is that what you want?"
Which I feel was somewhat sarcastic. And then some other time she would confess how humiliating it is to be a woman and have to be dependent on men. I think she was struggling between at times wanting to be independent and other times just feeling like succumbing to society's pressure and taking comfort in a stable but suffocating relationship between a man and a woman (which contrasts with the unstable but exciting relationship between the two men).

mark monday Hugo, I like your analysis. I'm overdue to reread this one and it will be good to keep it mind during the rereading.

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